Why Senior Year of High School Beats Senior Year of College

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What do the words “senior year” mean to you? Visions of wild parties, skipping class, relaxing and probably lots and lots of “last time vibes.” If that sounds right, then you, my friend, have been drinking the same Kool-Aid called pop culture. No shame in admitting that because I have as well. And let me tell you, it’s more inaccurate than the time I thought Downton Abbey was actually spelled and pronounced Downtown Abbey.

I mean first of all, wild parties? My nights consist of catching up on readings or writing and rewriting papers because they never seem perfect enough. If I’m lucky, I can catch up on old Gilmore Girls episodes before I pass out. As for skipping class, my classes involve lots of participation. That means sitting my butt down in those uncomfortably hard chairs and channeling my inner Hermione Granger even though I feel more comfortable hiding in the back.

Oh yeah, and I’m too busy running between classes and coming up with clever article ideas to relax and enjoy the fact that this is my last year in school. As in after this, I might actually start my grown-up life with a grown up job. I’m also around the age when it’s acceptable to get married and have kids. Oh God, yikes. 

After re-watching the trailer for the upcoming movie The Edge of Seventeen, I started thinking about high school, specifically my senior year. While my classmates stressed constantly about retaking the SATs, college applications and balancing  extracurriculars, I honestly couldn’t have cared less. I landed a pretty decent SAT score on my first try. I never really worried about applying to colleges and really only had one after school activity—marching band. Don’t judge. It should really count as a form of exercise.

My best friends never really worried about what would come after high school either, which really helped to shield me from the anxiety that infected the air like a nasty fart. I distinctly remember how light and free I’d felt. Once, I described senior year as “walking on air.” If I had to describe how I felt now, it’d probably be something along the lines of “help I’m going to collapse.” How lovely.

The more I think about it sometimes, the more I’d love to go back to high school. Yes, it had cliques, so called “popular kids” to avoid and the dreaded gym. But right now, I crave nothing more than to get rid of all of this stress. Should I apply to grad school (do I even want to go?) or start searching for jobs? I’ve never had to worry about the future before and it sucks. For the first time in my life I don’t have a plan for what to do next and no time to even think about it.

But hey—maybe this is nature’s way of righting everything. I never worried back in high school, so I get to stress out now. Everything worked out fine four years ago without lifting a finger. So all this work I’m putting in now should pay off. Right? Here’s hoping. And if Gilmore Girls has taught me anything, it’s that things usually work out on their own.

If not, I’ll move into a remote cabin in the woods somewhere and start my new life as a well-educated hermit.

Valerie is a senior at the University of Washington, studying English/Creative Writing and History. She loves anything caffeinated, Netflix and long road trips. She'll always be obsessed with Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Private Practice and Agents of Shield.

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