An open letter to my senior year

Dear Senior Year,

I’ve heard a lot about you. I’m glad we’re finally meeting. I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a long journey. Somewhere among the Friday night football games, last days of school, and summers that flew by way too quickly, I began to fear you. I know you’re supposed to be the best year of my life and I’m supposed to have a blast with you, but I’m scared. Truthfully, I’m terrified. I’m terrified because I don’t know what you’ll bring, and I don’t know what’s going to happen when you’re gone.

This year brings a lot of big decisions. This year is the year I decide what college to go to and what I want to study. But I’m only 16 years old  — how can you expect me to know what I want to do with the next four years of my life? This isn’t fair. Then again, I guess maybe that’s the point.

I know you’ll also be the year of a lot of lasts. Last football game, last prom, last day of high school. After this year, I’m never going to walk these corridors again or sit in my biology classroom or do homework in the small-but-cozy library. I’m never going to sit in my counselor’s office again, waiting for her to change my schedule. I’m not going to go to pep rallies in the quad during lunch or nod at that one guy I pass on my way to third period. I’m not going to see these teachers, these classrooms, or even half the kids I grew up with.

The past four years have all been in preparation for you. My mind is loaded with college admissions tips and SAT/ACT/AP exam tricks. I’ve heard enough about college to last me the rest of my life, and my inbox and mailbox has been perpetually flooded with letters from schools since I was a sophomore. But now that you’re finally here, it all seems surreal. How did the years fly by so quickly?

I’m less than a year away from graduation, but I’m not ready to be an adult. I don’t know what a mortgage is or how to balance a checkbook. The other day, I had pasta and soda for breakfast. How can I be trusted to live on my own? Senior year, please stop. Please slow down.

I can’t believe I only have one year left. One more year of high school, one more year with the people I’ve spent the last 12 years with, one more year of these familiar hallways. Seriously, WHERE did the all the time go? Wasn’t I just being introduced to Freshman Year as a wide-eyed ninth grader? What happened to getting lost on campus? Or to gazing with admiration at those upperclassmen who seemed to have everything so figured out? Well, now I’m one of those kids and I can tell you that age does not mean wisdom. I’ve still got a lot to learn. The fact that this school will keep moving, bringing in new freshman and churning out seasoned seniors, year-after-year, makes me feel so small and insignificant. But it’s the circle of life, so who am I to complain?

I’m really going to miss these overcrowded hallways, the shady spot under the big oak tree, and the nook where I once tripped on a root. I could go on and on about my memories. So how do you say goodbye to a school that has been your home for so long? It’s difficult. But not I’m not Peter Pan, and I accept that I have to grow up eventually. So I guess you just keep the past in that warm, fuzzy place in your heart, and look towards the future. Thank you, Senior Year, for everything you’re going to teach me and everything you’re already teaching me. I still think you’re scary, but you’re starting to seem a little less so. I think maybe we can even be friends.


An Anxious Twelfth Grader

P.S. I know this will probably be me during graduation but please go easy on my eyeliner.

(Images via here, here, and here.)

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