Photo Credit: Elise Favret (used with permission)/ Achona Online
As I depart the Academy, I have been constantly thinking about my future. What classes I will take? What clubs I will join? How long will it take me to get annoyed with my roommate? And while I do not like to dwell on the past, I do believe that my experiences may be helpful to the underclassmen taking on senior year when my class and I leave. Thus, I (and a few of my classmates who have provided useful input) have created a list of tips and tricks that can be useful in navigating senior year at the Academy.
1. Speak up for yourself.
Over the last four years, I have found it easy to sit quietly while actions take place I do not agree with in order to stay out of conflict or mind my own business. Sometimes I would even voice my opinions but to the wrong people who did not have the power to change anything. I regret a lot of the times this happened. If you see something going on you do not agree with, say something. You have a voice and what you believe about the occurrences taking place around you matters. One of the benefits of being at a small school such as Academy is that there are people who will listen and each student has the power to make a change if they gather enough support.
2. Talk to girls you never have before.
Girls I spoke to for the first time during my senior year are some of the best friends I made during my time at Academy. Branching out can seem scary or unimportant, but it has the possibility to be so fulfilling. One of the best parts of attending the Academy is being surrounded by girls with different interests and experiences, and you can meet someone similar to yourself in the most unlikely places. In fact, one of my best friends I only started talking to because she sat behind me in Math this year.
3. Go to school events
I understand that they may not seem “fun” or maybe even a little lame, but school events can be a great time to bond with girls in your class. They also allow you to make as many Academy memories as possible, which may not seem very important now, but one day will be.
4. Take classes you genuinely enjoy
Senior year can be stressful as it is filled with school work and planning for the future, so make your course load as enjoyable as possible. Do not take a class just because it is an AP or you “cannot get into college without it,” because 99% of the time it will just stress you out and does not matter for schools anyway. Also, there is nothing wrong with taking a study hall. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the break in the day.
5. Keep the Senior Lounge clean
The Lounge is by definition a privilege, and you recognize that once you get there. However, it can get to be a bit of a mess fairly quickly, so make sure to keep it clean so no one has to nap in your trash. Also, feel free to personalize it to your class. Add posters or signs to make it your own and you’ll be happy you did.
6. Be patient with your teachers and college counselors.
I know it is frustrating when grades are not put in immediately or your transcripts are still pending, but be patient with your teachers and college counselors. Just as you have a lot of work from a lot of classes, they have a lot of students to make sure they are providing their full attention to. Remember that they are people too, with busy schedules and lives outside of this yellow brick building.
7. REJECTION IS REDIRECTION!
Not getting into schools is not a fun process. It can lead to a lot of questions and self doubt, but it is important to remember throughout the entire college decision process that you will end up where you are supposed to be. Any school that does not accept you is just guiding you towards where you are meant to be, even if the process hurts sometimes.
8. Don’t let stupid drama ruin your friendships
After four years, talking to the same people can get a little tedious. However, it is not worth it to waste time in arguments with your friends when you have such little time left with them. It is much less work to just stay friendly, and you’ll be so focused on more important tasks the drama will fade away by itself.
9. Don’t give up on school, first OR second semester.
While senioritis is a very, very real ailment, try your best to stay on top of your school work. Even though you may not want to do it, that does not mean at some point it won’t be due and then you will have what feels like a million assignments in one night. Stay on top of your work as much as possible, it will make your entire life much less stressful.
10. Live in the moment
While college can seem exciting, don’t forget about all of the fun, important activities taking place while you are still in high school. There is so much going on around you that you do not want to miss out on and most of the time, the best high school memories get made during senior year. Remember to stay grounded and open minded to all high school can bring, because it is far too easy to miss important memories when you are not paying attention.