Senior Advice: Be Present
May 9, 2016
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Life as a senior is… different.
It’s a strange thought to recognize that you are the oldest you will ever be in the secondary education system, that you have become what you might have once seen as distantly as the moon.
When I was in elementary school, I could only see seniors as through a telescope – galaxies away, an age three times mine, something I wouldn’t have to think about for forever.
There’s a sense of responsibility – sure, the pressure on grades lessens once class rank is set and everyone starts committing to colleges, but now you’re the example, the pinnacle of your eleven other years of achievement. People look up to you, and that can be hard to understand and manage.
I’ve tried to reach out to as many underclassmen as I can, whether that be through orchestra or theater or just a smile in the hallway. I remember that sense of isolation as a freshman, that feeling that seniors are eons older than you and can seem unapproachable and aloof. They’re on a different level, you think. They’re a long way away.
And then… you’re there.
And you’re still much the same person you were four years ago.
You haven’t magically transformed into some older, more mature version of yourself. That freshman still exists, they’ve just assimilated. Changed to fit your current circumstances.
When I was performing in my last show at Susky, Pippin, I found that a lot of the underclassmen there were already lamenting their senior goodbyes. I don’t know what I’ll do as a senior, they would say. I’ll be so sad!
I understood something during those few days.
It’s hard to live in the present.
I’ve spent a lot of high school worrying about times that aren’t now. I would look forward to what is now one week gone and cry, saying I’ll miss that. I would look back to what was two years gone and smile, saying, I miss that.
In the meantime, I forgot that now was a pretty great time to be. There’s nothing to miss right now. I forgot how to push incessant thoughts about the past and the future aside and focus on the way things are instead of how they could be.
I saw myself in those underclassmen, upset about a time years and years down the road, hours and hours of school and life and friendships away.
If you’re not a senior yet – regardless of whether or not you think you’ll miss high school – my advice to you would be to give no more than healthy thoughts of planning and preparedness to your senior year. I understand that, for some, now isn’t so great – and that’s okay. Just make sure you aren’t so lost in the endless butterfly effect of possibilities that you get swarmed.
Don’t regret the things you’re passionate about. Don’t let yourself be embarrassed by that one phase you had for a year in middle school – you had fun, and that’s what will stick with you throughout the years. Don’t let yourself pigeonhole in on what was, either. Don’t forget to be present.
These years of your life are precious and unique; there isn’t anything quite like high school, so don’t squander it by constantly looking forward. Stop and take a look around once in a while.
You might find that you like the view.