Mira Costa High School

Senior Year Stress

Senior year. It’s scary. I am only 16 years old and I am having to make choices that will affect the rest of my life. Where do I want to go to college? Do I want to stay on the West Coast? Or should I change it up and go to the East Coast? Or the Midwest? What should I major in? Should I go in undecided? There are so many questions left to be answered and I don’t know if I have those answers just yet.

Before I get carried away with senior year I just want to reflect back on junior year. Everyone warned me that junior year would be hard and they were not kidding. Trying to balance all of my classes, track, extracurriculars, and ACT/SAT prep was brutal. I always thought that once I got through the stress of junior year things would ease up a bit for senior year. Wrong.

I was looking forward to summer break this year because I figured that aside from summer school, I would have a lot of down time to de-stress from junior year, but that’s not quite what my summer turned out to be. When I wasn’t in summer school I was meeting with my college counselors, my ACT tutor, doing my summer reading assignment or looking into colleges. After summer school ended I headed off to New York City and Boston, but I wasn’t there to spend nine days on vacation, I was there for college tours.

Before the trip I only had three past experiences with college tours, one at the University of California, San Diego, another at Occidental College, and one at the University of Southern California. While on my trip I visited New York University, Boston University and Northeastern University. After all of those tours I feel like I am almost an expert on the college tour experience. If you want to know how a college tour works here is a quick breakdown: first you will sit through an information session for about an hour to an hour and a half, then you will be split into groups and sent off on your tour with an overly enthusiastic tour guide (in most cases), and then the tour guide will end the tour with a quick spiel as to why they decided to go to that particular school.

After a trip to the East Coast I was back in Los Angeles for a whopping two days. The first day was spent at a four-hour Common App workshop and the following day was spent with my ACT tutor. So much fun. However, it was necessary to do those two things so I won’t complain too much.

Then I was off to Seattle for a quick four-day trip and a visit to the University of Washington. After going through the routine college tour, I headed off to a residence hall tour which was something I had not done yet. Unlike on the other tours where you just stick your head into one of the rooms, this hour-long tour focused on everything and anything that related to the dorms.

When I finally returned to Los Angeles, I had about two weeks left until senior year. In those two weeks I did the usual, I met with my college counselors, my ACT tutor, and finished up my summer reading assignment.

Now that senior year has started, the only things on my mind are all of the things that I still have to do. I have to finish up my brag sheet, make sure I can manage all of my classes and get good grades, take the ACT again, finalize my college list, write my essay for the Common App, meet with my college counselors, meet with my ACT tutor, finish up college applications, and make sure I get everything together for my teachers that are writing a letter of recommendation for me.

Needless to say, senior year is nothing like what I imagined and I can’t wait until the day when all of my college applications are done and I can relax a little. The only thing that will stress me out once college applications are done is waiting to find out which schools I get accepted to and for me that is the scariest, yet most exciting part. Second semester, please come fast.