Dear senior year — examining life after high school

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Avery Jordan

A photo I stopped and took last week walking into school.

Dear college applications,

You’ve been a work in progress since mid-July—it’s December. The conspicuous amounts of meetings with my college advisor, refreshing my student portals, and having to remind myself that I do have a future. Because oftentimes, that future appears way blurrier than I’d like it to.

Being the oldest child, the first to apply to college, the first to drive a car, and the first to graduate high school, there’s a lot of unknown pressure on me, and with that comes uncertainty. I don’t want to say I’m oblivious to the process, but I’ve been trudging through the ins and outs of Common App and Naviance for the past six months. 

The sun will come out and the flowers will bloom, just as they always do.”

My senior year is a year deemed to be a blast, to be carefree and quick—college apps are slowly deteriorating that. Maybe because it’s only December, maybe because I haven’t heard back from the schools I am eager to go to most, but right now, my future is all I can think about—not living in the moment.

And with midterms and scheduling and my last first semester coming to a close, it’s not getting any better. Every day, knowing where I want to spend my next four years of school changes. One day, I wake up wanting a Big 10 school with football, tailgating, and sororities. The next, I am eager to be on a smaller campus, live in a dorm with a roommate, and be close to home. I am so confused with what my own mind is telling me, on top of everyone else telling me what I want and how I should get it. I tell myself that I can relax and that it’s not a big deal, but I can’t because it is a big deal. I can tell myself “it’s okay” when I get a bad grade on a math quiz or when I lose points on a presentation, but this isn’t just some assessment that goes into PowerSchool; this is my future. This is my life. It determines where I commit to for my college career, it then determines how good of a job I will get, what my income will be, how many kids I can have, and how great of a life I can give my future family.

It’s a cause and effect, and that’s what’s scary about it. It’s the “what ifs” that make me feel like this. It’s watching people with so much potential get into competitive schools, knowing exactly what they want to major in and what they want coming out of college. I cannot help but compare. 

So I guess senior year isn’t all that pretty. It has storms that roll in and out, pounding the rain onto my head and into my thoughts until the thunder erupts. But these storms will pass. The sun will come out and the flowers will bloom, just as they always do. At least, I’m hoping they will. 

-Avery