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Senior year survival guide

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Senior year survival guide


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By Alexandra Madsen

Senior year is the time for students to enjoy things they have waited three years for. Oktoberfest, Prom, and Graduation are all a part of the senior year experience, but before all the fun, seniors have a lot to do. From college applications, to avoiding senioritis, this year is still very important, and some people are not even sure where to start. After I fielded numerous questions from seniors, here are some questions and answers to helping students survive their senior year:

“How do I make new friends this year when most of my good friends graduated last year?”

As students become upperclassmen, people from different classes get closer and form tight friendships. However as every year passes, seniors graduate and some students find themselves without their close friends and in a way have to start all over. Avelyss Roman, Div. 452, a senior who went to Taft Academic Center, was enrolled in classes a grade level above most of her classmates, and formed friendships with mostly upperclassmen.

“A majority of my friends are older than me so this year it made it was tough to start over and make new friends. But really, I wish I would have broadened my friend group earlier and made friends with people not only in my grade level but of all grade levels,” Roman said.

It’s true that it is hard to form those new friendships, however it is also a chance to get closer to your grade level and the ones below you and form friendships you may never have thought possible. Being open to the people in

your classes and hanging out after school, in study groups, or even filling out college applications together. Having a new pair of eyes look over your essays while also making new friends can be a good start.

 

“How do I ask for recommendation letters?”

Most colleges require a minimum of two recommendation letters, one from a teacher and one from a counselor. Many students at Lane know that counselors have a limited amount of time on their hands. When waiting in the lines for an hour to see them, it can be tempting to give up. The counselors and teachers are trying their best to give the seniors the best help they possibly can. Students can facilitate this process by as some counselors have already emailed out to their students filling out a questioner or creating a senior resume. Compiling a list of the things you have done at Lane over your four years and giving them an idea of the type of person you are. Mrs. Coorlas, the director of counselors, has seen students come and go into her office since the beginning of school and feels there is not enough time to see every student and get their life story.

“It’s really hard for me when every student comes in and says ‘Hello my name is…and I just wanted to introduce myself’ because I know it’s so hard to get to know every one of them in such a short amount of time. I want to get to know every student as best as possible. So really creating a senior resume can help us to understand who you are and where you are coming from to give us better insight into who you are,” Coorlas said.

This advice can be used for counselors and teachers. Going to tutoring and talking to them helps really get to know them, and lets them get to know you so that they can give you the best possible letter. Sometimes even bringing in a small photo of yourself, to help them remember who you are or showing them something special you wrote, made, or got a good grade on to help set you apart from others.

 

“What kind of school do I want to go to?”

With over 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States alone, choosing what school would most benefit you can be a little scary. It’s important to understand there is no perfect school.  Wherever you end up, it’s not only about the college you go to, it is what you do in college. There are many resources students can go to that will help find a great match. Mrs. Console, the counselor in the College and Career Center, is not only a counselor for her students, but can meet with anyone having questions or concerns with the college process.

“The College and Career Center is really a great resource for students,” Console said. “On our website there are tons of websites that can help match you to a college that fits you, however, when students come to me not having a clue about the kind of school they want to go to I always ask ‘What do you not want in a school?’ and that really helps them narrow it down.”

This process of elimination can be very helpful. Take some time to write down the five most important things you want in the school and eliminate the ones that don’t have it. Having that in mind, college visits are also very important because actually being on a campus can really change your perspective to what the college looked like online to what it is actually like in person. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, let the visit influence your final decision.

 

“I’m overwhelmed with the whole college process, how can I keep going with all this stress?”

Applying to college is very stressful but do not let it control your life. It’s important that it’s on your mind and something that you are starting and focusing on, but you should still make time to see you friends, and have a normal senior year. Allot yourself a half hour to an hour a day to work on applications. Based on how much homework  or work you have, the rest of your day should be spent hanging out with friends, doing schoolwork, and doing anything else you normally would do.

Study groups can combine work and fun by allowing you to be surrounded by people that want to help and also allow you to work on your applications. Meeting with a couple of friends at a coffee shop can take the stress off of the application process while also getting the job done. Being the best possible person you can be, and being at your happiest and healthiest can help your applications rather than always being stressed out.

Casey Cusano a senior who graduated last year, was stressed out about her common application, essays and all other things that go along with college, but also found time to hang out with family and friends to balance out the stress of college applications.

“I was really freaking out, I was to the point where I wasn’t sure if I was pressing the right buttons on the common app and it just felt like so much pressure, but I asked for help from people and ended up at the best place I could be,” Cusano said.

Applying earlier rather than later, and taking baby steps can really change the whole college application process.         Having a balance between down time and applications cannot only improve how you feel but also help improve your application.

 

“Should I go to the same school as my boyfriend/girlfriend?”

Most students in relationsships during the college process find themselves asking this question. But the most important thing to remember is you.  College is a time to discover who you are, grow as a person, and decide where you are going in life. The college you go to should be one that you really want to be at and that you feel will fit you best. Senior Gina Antonietti, Div. 469, has a boyfriend who attended Lane last year and now goes to school out of state.

“Basically I’m not basing my decision to where I’m going to college on my relationship,” Antonietti said. “College is meant to be a time to mold your future, and I need to pick a place that makes me happy and I’m just trying to keep him out of my decision as much as possible and really give myself the opportunity to think about what’s best for me.”

The fact is, things are unpredictable. If you choose the place you like the most, regardless of your boyfriend/girlfriends location, and you stay together, it’s meant to be. However, if you break up, you aren’t stuck at a school that was not the best fit for you. Being stuck at a school you’re not happy with because of a relationship, will ruin your college experience and leave you unhappier than ever. You never know what will happen so choosing the best place for you is always the smartest choice.

As a senior, starting this process can be very stressful, but senior year is not only about stress and college applications, it’s still your last year and it should be everything you’ve wanted it to be. So the best advice would be to balance your life and make the most of your last year.

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