Senior Advice 

Rebecca Caulton, Staff Writer

Their final year of high school is coming to a close and now is a time of reflection for many seniors in high school. With most public university decisions out and the academic year wrapping up, many start to regret the amount of effort that they put into school. Some people wish they put in more effort. Additionally, high school parties aren’t all that they are cracked up according to seniors and seniors suggest waiting on a lot of those big firsts. 

With college decisions out, many students received heartbreak this year. It is not just in seniors’ heads; prestigious colleges are harder than ever to get into. According to Premium Prep, “It is, in fact, much more difficult to get into college than it was a generation ago. The number of college applicants has risen sharply, especially over the past ten years.” Additionally, college costs are higher than ever. Many students, including myself, did not apply to any Ivy Leagues or private colleges due to the $70,000 yearly price tag. Additionally, COVID-19 made not only the application process more difficult for many students but also the financial side. According to Montclair State University, “Black, Latinx and Asian students reported higher rates of worry about continuing their education relative to white students due to financial difficulties…. Compared to white students, they reported a lower likelihood of expecting to complete the spring 2020 semester.” Given these issues, it is clear why now feels like a hard time for many students to apply. Most seniors at IHS report being satisfied with their final post-senior plans so it is not hopeless for juniors or underclassmen looking forward to applying in the future.  

Outside of college admissions, seniors also reflect on their personal choices throughout their four years of high school. Many seniors reported regretting academic decisions like senior Jonathon Liu who “regretted not taking more AP classes,” but others regretting social decisions they made. Senior Misha Fay cited that she “regrets not being a consistent friend throughout high school.” Unsurprisingly, none of the seniors cited missing out on parties or sexual experiences as their greatest regret. While many underclassmen look forward to and romanticize high school parties, the majority just seem like a puke-cleaning party for whoever is hosting. As well, college presents plenty of party opportunities for students that still want the romanticized version of high school parties.  

Seniors have a lot to worry about right now. According to College Confidential, “Sixty five percent of the survey participants wrote about their fears of being alone and not being able to make new friends.” On the contrast, IHS students cited worries about money and financially supporting their families as their greatest concern. However, senior Lisa Ham said that her “biggest concern is probably finding a fulfilling thing to do in my life.” As a way to deal with these money anxieties, many seniors plan to apply for summer jobs to start chipping away at the costs. According to Zippia, “Just under 30% of high school-age students have jobs. This percentage is higher for students with summer jobs, as 30.8% of 16- to 19-year-olds worked during the summer of 2020,” with the majority of these students being juniors and seniors. 

While not all seniors are beacons of good advice, many have insightful reflection from their four years of high school. Senior Kengo Shibuya said that if he were to give advice to underclassmen it would be to “establish a routine and healthy habits.” While routines do not work for everyone, filling your week with things to look forward to and a variety of activities is something some seniors wish they had done earlier. Additionally, some IHS students cited that they wish they had had more fun and joined more clubs. With clubs only meeting a few times a week often, it is never too early to try one out and make new friends.  

While many seniors may be anxious and worried about college, the vast majority of IHS students asked, reported feeling some degree of excitement for college. One student cited the new freedom as their main source of excitement and for many colleges is the first time they are not under their parents’ thumbs. It makes sense why a common sense of excitement is found amongst graduating seniors. While graduating high school is a big change, it is also a time to say goodbye to an old set of faces and make new friends. With every high school having its bad apples, many seniors also share a sense of relief to leave some faces behind. Additionally, many students are getting their driver’s license in the last leg of their senior year which will give them extended freedom beyond what they have had. Overall, if you are an underclassman, then your main takeaway should be to have fun and join more activities before it is too late.