Not the sunshine and rainbows you were promised
Everything you have been told about the second semester of senior year—a lie. All the stories of a chill, laid-back second semester are just one big deception. In other words, your senior year may not be exactly what it was painted out to be.
Ever since freshman year, I have been told that senior year would make up for all the suffering endured in the previous years. However, I endured a fourth year of suffering instead of the bliss I was promised. I had gone into senior year expecting everything to be different because of the pandemic; however, it wasn’t the shift to virtual school that made senior year not-so-cool.
I expected my first semester of senior year to be a headache. I was warned of the stress college applications would have, but it isn’t until you experience that stress first-hand that you understand exactly how nerve-wracking the process is. No matter how much one prepares for college applications in the summer, one will never be fully prepared when the time really comes. Or maybe I’m just a really good procrastinator. In any case, the first semester of senior year was stressful but expected. October and November just consisted of revising a 350-word essay about twenty times, crying over my GPA even though there was nothing I could do about it, staring at the wall, and wondering if I should just drop out and marry rich.
Winter break rolls around and a sense of calm settles over me. I was in the mindset that it would be all smooth sailing from here on. Sure, finals week still existed, but hey, all my college applications were in.
January wraps up and I am all set to lay back and relax while doing the minimal amount of work for the second semester. However, that is precisely when some of the college decisions came out. They may have only been the decisions of one school out of hundreds or just the first wave of decisions from one school out of many, but it was enough to get everyone’s heart rate up again. College decisions can come out any time. A frantic checking of my student portal every single day and texting my friends if they got any decisions was all my day consisted of. This was worse than the first semester. The first semester I knew what I had to do. I had to write essays and fill out applications, but I didn’t know what to do during the second semester. I had to sit around and just wait for decisions, which was horrible.
It starts slowly—you see a friend post about an acceptance and you rush to check if you got your decision yet. Nothing. The two weeks in March when every decision started coming out was hell on earth. I never had the number of mental breakdowns I had that week in my entire senior year. Getting rejected from a college is a horrible, horrible feeling. Everyone tells you, “Oh there will be acceptances, a rejection is not the end of the world,” but at that moment, to you, it truly feels like the end of the world. It’s the cold, sickly feeling of “Why am I not enough? What am I lacking that other people have?” Or worse, you start believing that no college will want you, based on the two decisions that came out.
Okay, it’s April, most of the decisions are out, you should be feeling pretty good right? No, wrong. Now you have all your college results and you need to make a decision. Personal hell. When choosing a college, multiple things factor in, but a big thing was money. Colleges will bleed you dry, sucking up all of your money. So more panic attacks begin.
Also, while all of this is happening, I don’t know if it’s just me but teachers somehow suddenly start piling so much work. Suddenly I had three assignments and two quizzes due at 10 PM, all of which were assigned that same day. Even though I said I would take it easy second semester, when you’ve been meticulously doing all your assignments the past three years, it is a bit hard to let go of that.
So in summary, I’d like to point out that second-semester senior year—not it. Definitely not it. What’s worse, you cannot prepare for it. For the first semester, you at least had an idea of what’s happening, the second semester you are absolutely clueless. So good luck to all you rising seniors. I, for one, am glad that I’m done with high school.