High school survival guide: students give advice to next generation- Alumnus to Seniors

Written by Shawna Chen


Congratulations, seniors! You have arrived at your last year of high school in one piece… or so we hope.

Senior year is never what you expect it to be. For me, it was one long process of self-discovery— first in the form of college essays and then in second semester, when I finally stopped caring about the scores and grades and began prioritizing people.

I know college applications are scary. There’s the inevitable fear of not getting in anywhere, the panic of making all the deadlines and the constant worry that you’re not enough. And there is where I stop you: you are enough. Getting into college is not what defines you as a person—only you can do that for yourself.

Remember to stay on top of your applications. Read essay instructions carefully and if you’re going to apply Early Decision, check the box. When your Facebook newsfeed starts flooding with “Accepted to _______” and “______ Class of 2021!”, don’t panic. Someone else’s acceptance does not mean your rejection, and it definitely does not mean you are any less than them.

Once all your applications are in, it’s time for the #secondsemestersenior in you to emerge. Everybody talks about #SSS as if you go crazy, party 24/7 and show up to 0 percent of school. In truth, it’s not the lack of attendance or wild activities that make #SSS so special. What makes #SSS special is the fact that maybe for the first time since kindergarten, you’re not working toward something.

I spent so much of high school anticipating the next step—SATs, classes, college, career—that having the ability to do what I wanted meant everything. I binge-watched all five seasons of “Chuck” and spent every minute trying to make the most of it with the people I love.

Second semester senior year also gave me the opportunity to

discover what it means to love myself. My whole life I’ve been saddled with self-doubt and harsh self-criticism. High school, surrounded by a sea of talented and beautiful peers, only made it worse. But #SSS, without the need for success, gave me time to dedicate to myself. I went to therapy to start redefining my sense of self and I stopped seeing “perfect” as the final goal.

Ultimately, enjoy senior year. It’s something you won’t ever experience again. And when you walk across that stage with your diploma in 2017, be proud of yourself—you made it.