Surviving the Senior Grind
First term senior year has come to a close, and having lived through the grueling college process, copious amounts of work, and the crushing blow of rejection (or deferral) I write to those who may be stressed, defeated, or cautious of the future beyond the security gates of Hopkins.
Tip one: Dodge the “What are you majoring in” question: Hearing you’re a senior, I have found that there are two pressing questions. One, is, “Do you know which college you are attending,” and the second, “What’s your major?” This question has been a source of angina since the very beginning: the Common Application. But when asked in person, probably by elderly relatives, family friends, or even the man at the glasses store angina can evolve into sudden heart attack. I am seventeen! Am I supposed to know what I want to do with the rest of my life? For those who seem to have it all figured out, I envy you. Seniors can avoid this question in one of two ways. The more socially acceptable options is an uncomfortably quiet laugh paired with a polite “not yet.” Personally, I make up a new major every time, and see the mixed reactions. A few highlights have been Bagpiping, Canadian Studies, Floral Design, and Puppeteering.
Tip two: Rejection happens. Here at Hopkins, many got happy news the day their dream school released binding early decisions. However, even more get a first taste of cold rejection. I mean, what is harder than a “no thanks” from a dream school? Perhaps deferral, the dreaded in between. College rejections are degrading and stressful. Everyone tells you, “It is going to be alright.” But the self doubt inflicted after being turned away from a top choice can make the future seem daunting. It is hard to live with doubt and uncertainty, and it can be hard to accept what we cannot control. Everyone will be turned away at some point - jobs, relationships, gyms, classes, clubs. We bloom where we are planted, and it will be okay.
Tip Three: Don’t let life Pass Too Quickly. I was a freshman yesterday, truly. Don’t be too rushed to leave high school, whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or second term senior. Life passes too quickly as it is, no need to be stressing for the future when you can enjoy the now. Sorry, I know that was cheesy. Spend time with your friends! Have dinner with the family! Make time for adventures! Juniors, it gets worse before it gets better. I thought there could not be a more rigorous workload than junior year, but at that point, I didn’t comprehend the amount of time taken over by college supplements, campus tours, and interviews. Sophomores, be prepared, but don’t take life too seriously. You are in that in-between year of high school, which can be wonderful, but also awkward. Freshman, don’t even begin to think about what comes next. You have just turned to your first chapter of high school—do not take things too seriously yet. Junior Schoolers, have fun! It can be an awkward time as the babies of the school, but you’ve got this.
I suppose the best advice for that would be work hard, but not too hard. The next adventure awaits, it will all be okay!