Seniors, this year you are the crowned rulers of your high school microcosm. You know which teachers let a twenty-minute bathroom break slide, how to keep the substitute chit-chatting until the period ends and which classes are synonymous with nap time. But this reign will not last forever. Next year, you are going to be freshmen again: dazed, confused and intimidated by the majesty of college upperclassmen. Though this transition will be both thrilling and terrifying, keep in mind that it will likely be the most fulfilling, mind-boggling and transformative experience of your life. You will struggle in and eventually learn to navigate the world of adult relationships, independent living and career planning. You will emerge from college older, smarter, perhaps a tad more cynical but ultimately a wiser and more self-aware individual.
So how do you prepare for college during your last year of high school? Firstly, be nice to the freshmen of your school because you need to earn all the good karma you can get. (And because it is the virtuous thing to do.) Respect your teachers, thank them for their patience and for authoring those endless streams of recommendation letters. Assess your friendships and make a commitment to the relationships of value in your life. Establish your support network and explore what matters to you. Remember to appreciate your parents for you will be moving away soon and they will likely be generously funding a portion of your higher education.
Because this year’s grades are not as critical as those of the junior year, practice learning for the joy of it. Take an art class, a challenging foreign language class, a journalism course or some other elective that was always on your radar but that you never had the opportunity to explore. Consider enrolling in a course offered by your local community college to become familiar with university-level coursework.
Finally, take time to savor the feeling of accomplishment and to reflect upon the growth you have experience during your time in high school. Pause on the top of this peak and admire the view. Yes, you will have other mountains to climb soon and greater achievements to manifest. But for now, dear high school senior, stay sane for the college application process and know that your journey into adulthood has begun.