The grand finale: Reflecting on my senior year experience


If you compared what I thought my senior year was going to look like back in third grade, sixth grade, ninth grade, and what it is today, you would have three dreams and a harsh reality. In the third grade, I had a few senior year goals: go to prom, get a car,  and get a boyfriend. I can happily say that one item is checked, but that it’s not the one I want. Sixth grade me just wanted to be tall, somewhat pretty, and have good grades. My ninth grade self wanted me to be happy and have good college offers with some great scholarships. Now don’t get me wrong, I love where I am physically, mentally, and emotionally in the midst of everything, but nothing really went as planned.

Plans change; that’s the fact of everything. Nothing goes the way you want them to, and that’s okay. Where would we be if everything went according to plan? Lessons wouldn’t have been learned and memories wouldn’t have been made. The memories I have made this senior year are great. Some of them became my application essays and turned into something that I got to share with colleges to let them understand who I am as a person.

Applying to college was exciting and nerve wracking. In those three days Mr. Heineman, our college advisor, called us up to the school over the summer to start applying through ApplyTexas and the CommonApp, nothing felt  real. It felt more like a practice than anything and it wasn’t until I submitted my final application that everything settled in. The senior pictures I took? Extremely nice yearbook photos. The parent night for senior year? A meeting to let my parents know what to expect in four years. Everything had finally sank in a bit and I felt this fear rise within me because it was December and I couldn’t remember where the school year had gone.

Money was a huge part of this year, both spending and earning. Senior year is expensive and it became hard at times whenever I had to spend $24 to send both my SAT and ACT scores to a college that I had to pay around $75 to apply to. It was also a first time for me to work year round. I had a seasonal job my junior year, but this was completely different. I would spend about 47 1/2 hours at school and then anywhere from 18-22 hours over the weekend working. After a while, this began to wear down on me; it was like I never had a break. And the worst part of it all was the fact that I knew other girls in my grade were putting in more hours than me and still doing well academically. I knew that if I had felt the way I did, they did as well, if not more.

Speaking of feelings, there are a lot involved with Capstone this year. Capstone is a huge project you do in your high school career at ARS and it combines all three pathways (Biomedical Science, Media Tech and Engineering) to solve a real world issue that we were passionate about. My Capstone project was coming up with flexible seating options, which meant that we had to figure out how to make either a table or a chair come down from the wall and have the ability to be folded back up. This was a super interesting project as we changed from creating this flexible seatings to creating flexible bleachers for the new proposed auditorium (if we ever get one) and eventually went back to the flexible seating option as we realized that this was practical.

And now here I sit, a few weeks away from May 31st, graduation day. A day where the 14 years I have worked will finally come to a close. I will end this chapter of my life and start a new one. I’m excited, sad, scared, and filled with a few more emotions as I think about this day. I get it, it’s just a high school diploma and doesn’t mean much to an adult who has gone through a good portion of life. But this is so much more; this is a day where I walk away from being a teenager to being an adult who has to be responsible for paying bills and making sure that I go buy groceries. It’s a day where I get to take the training wheels off of my bicycle. I’ve got a whole life ahead of me, and I’m getting close to really starting that and I couldn’t be happier. Senior year has definitely changed my perspective on things for multiple reasons, and before, I found that symbolic day to finally be free from this school, but I see it now as being a day for me to step into the world of adulthood. I cannot thank this school enough for everything they have done for me, and sure, it can have slight downfalls, but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes to enhance our experiences. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me, thank you the wonderful people in the college center, and most importantly, thank you Starbucks that kept me awake for almost the entire year. I couldn’t have done it without caffeine.