The Harsh Reality of Senior Year

Emily Fiala


Many people think senior year is easy-going and a “nice break” before the overwhelming responsibilities that come with the college life, but this stereotype is completely untrue. Seniors not only have to deal with the large amounts of high school work, but now have to start planning out their post-secondary paths and the start of adulthood. Sometimes these responsibilities pile on top of each other and Seniors must choose which to focus on first.

“I would typically spend an hour a day working on applications, although as deadlines approached, I was either sleeping or working on applications, schoolwork took a back seat,” said Sr. Luke Nicholson.

For seniors who are involved in extracurriculars such as sports,clubs, and work, college applications and scholarships take up much of their already limited time.

“Applications, essays, FAFSA, scholarships, interviews add so much extra stress and work that you are not going to want to be maxed out on only school, you need to leave time in your schedule for the preparation of future years,” said Sr. Kylie Behn, who not only is taking a very difficult high school course load but is involved with swim and dive every day after school.

Many seniors procrastinate not only high school work, but college applications and scholarships, too. This builds up major stress throughout the year and leads students to becoming more off task and unorganized.

“I procrastinated college applications, so homework varied every week; probably around 5 hours a week during the busy applications time period,” said Behn.

Many seniors would say that senior year is actually more stressful than junior year, which to most people would seem the other way around.

“While I took more challenging courses my junior year, senior year has certainly been more stressful as the application process takes up a good chunk of your time and adds to the overall stress of figuring out what to do with life after high school,” said Nicholson.

Teachers at DHS believe that with high school work, college planning, and extracurriculars piling up on top of each other, senior year is a very challenging experience for students.

“The majority of seniors are taking full course loads, most of them take at least one AP. A lot of them are holding down outside jobs or are involved in extracurricular activities and clubs…and then, somehow, you are also supposed to be applying to college and writing scholarship applications, which could definitely be a dilemma for some seniors,” said Teri Kopack, the AVID) coordinator and teacher at DHS.

Teachers who cater to seniors at DHS feel that senior year is not only stressful and challenging academically, but has an emotional impact on both the students and their families.

“I think there are a lot of aspects of senior year that’s really challenging for students. It’s the first time that students are faced with the idea of leaving home and being independent, which everyone loves the thought of initially. Then, right around April, kids start freaking out because they realize they’re about to leave home,” said Kopack.

Many students don’t realize the responsibilities that come with college and just how independent they have to be.

Seniors will have to learn to schedule their own doctor’s appointments, do their own shopping, cook meals, pay phone bills, and get to classes on their own. Though exciting, this new and unknown step can cause a ton of worry. They need to remember that all their hard work over the last several years will pay off,” said Deb Medenwaldt, the senior academic advisor at DHS.

Medenwaldt believes senior year is very emotionally draining.

“I think the hardest year in school academically is the junior year while the senior year is the hardest because of the unknown of the future,” said Medenwaldt.

Senior year is definitely not as calm and easy as most people think: it’s one of the hardest years in high school. Not only do seniors have to deal with high school homework loads, but they now have to start planning their futures and learn to become more independent. However, the challenges most students face senior year will pay off in the end and help give students a steady foundation for their futures ahead.

“Seniors need to explore the world and discover what is out there for them! They need to trust that all will be well and that they are more than ready for whatever the future holds for them,” said Medenwaldt.