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Senior Year: A Prison in Disguise

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Senior Year. For seniors, they’ve spent the past 11 years preparing for this one moment. The final stretch of their high school experience; The freshman year struggle to make friends is in the past. The tough classes of sophomore year are behind them. The constant testing of junior year is history. They’ve made it to the top. All throughout high school, they’ve seen all the love that the idolized seniors received as they departed on to the next stages of their lives. Now it’s their turn to embrace the glory. It’s their turn to live their best lives under the praise of their community. Or so they thought. Frankly, senior year is nowhere near the joy and freedom portrayed in illusions such as High School Musical. Instead, it’s plagued with endless work and stress.

Going into senior year, seniors feel like they’ve made it. In reality, senior year isn’t as smooth sailing as it seems, especially during the beginning. During the first semester, seniors are overwhelmed with work. For those with college ambitions, they have to identify which institution they will apply to, then spend the next period of their lives isolated from the outside world as they take on the gruesome application process. Not to mention the scholars who already have extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and even jobs to handle. With all of this work, you would think that their teachers would have sympathy for their students. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Not only are seniors expected to balance the weight of college preparation and their personal life, they are required to meet countless work deadlines for their classes as well! As if they haven’t already been through enough! To make matters worse, the built up stress from these challenges cause some students to have behavioral mishaps. There are countless tragedies about how seniors get into legal trouble or their bottled stress boils over in the classroom. Senior year is extremely fragile because the slightest mistake could cause all of your dreams to tumble down the drain.

As a senior myself, I can personally attest to these upheavals as I’ve encountered my own fair share of the senior burden. Unlike many of my peers, I’ve spent my educational career at various institutions with the penultimate being at Washtenaw International High School (WIHI) in Ypsilanti. Coming to Pioneer from WIHI, I expected senior year to be filled with fun. I assumed that I’d apply to college and finally have some down time given the hard work and focus that I had dedicated toward my education for such a long time. To my surprise, on the first day of class I was assigned numerous homework assignments, and by the end of the inaugural week I already had a quiz to look forward to for the following week! What a rude awakening! Some may argue that this is the definition of being a scholar: being studious. However, I’d respectfully disagree. I spent my first weekend of my senior year at my new school locked up in my room, studying. On the contrary, I could have been out exploring my new community. Though it is true that most seniors have different situations from mine, the fact of the matter is that the freedom of senior year remains a staple to our happiness. If you support the happiness of your seniors, here is how you can help:

For starters, a lightened workload from teachers would help. Coming home to the serenity of relaxation would reward seniors for their daily commitment. Additionally, teachers of seniors should understand seniors’ struggles and provide a supportive environment that would promote overall success. Implementing study hall periods would also deem beneficial. Schools should dedicate an hour every other school day towards the betterment of senior education. Similar to club day schedules, everyone would have one schedule and all seniors would have a special period allotted for refreshment.  As seniors transition to the next phase of their educational career, they should be prepared for what their future entails. In college, most students won’t be taking six classes for five days a week, so it’s best for seniors to start getting acquainted with this lifestyle. Study periods would not only revive seniors’ mental state, but give them an adamant amount of time to specialize on their core classes. With these adjustments, senior year can return to the euphoria it’s meant to be.

Seniors have the right to attend their final musicals, football games, poetry slams, and more social events that are on their high school bucket list. All in all, they deserve their last chance to be high schoolers.

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Senior Year: A Prison in Disguise