This is How We Do (Senior Year)

Abby’s advice to the class of 2017


Daisy Fuchs

Senior girls pose at the Homecoming assembly.

I am an almost legal adult that’s roughly 23 days way from graduating. I have infinite wisdom, most of which I pull from Nick from New Girl (You don’t need to wash a towel, the towel washes you, duh,) or Ryan from The Office (never cook cheese pitas in the office), and on some rare occasions, Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, (Need a job? Just buckle on your job helmet, squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job-land where jobs grow on jobbies). I guess that makes me (somewhat?) qualified to give advice to the class of 2017. Here are my six tips to surviving senior year.

  1. Be an Adult

Seniors tend to have a weird superiority complex where they demand to be treated as an adult, but often don’t want to take responsibility for their lives. Because we are “adults” we often feel like we are allowed to do what we want, when we want. This includes blowing off homework and ditching school. Sure. Most seniors are guilty of cutting a class here and there, which is fine. The problem comes when you have 100+ absences and a truancy letter in your mailbox. I get it, senioritis makes it really hard just to find the motivation to do an assignment. Just don’t blow everything off. You’ll regret it when you can’t walk at graduation or when your college pulls your acceptance or scholarship. Being an adult doesn’t mean doing whatever you want. It means taking responsibility for yourself. In my experience, being an adult is basically just Googling how to do things instead of always texting my mom.

  1. Take it Seriously

It’s easy to act like nothing matters senior year. It is also easy to act like because you are a senior, it is your job to make a joke out of everything. Spoiler alert: it’s not. As someone who spent far too much time dealing with far too much crap from the senior class, let me just say this: a joke or a prank will always fall on someone else. Sure. It may be fricken hilarious to make fun of someone or something in your senior quote. I can promise you though, your yearbook editors will not find it funny and you won’t get a senior quote (Senior quotes make me want to skin someone).You might think it’s fun to trash the hallways or the student center but the custodians probably won’t be laughing. Just remember there is a fine line between being funny and being mean and disrespectful.

  1. You Do You

A large part of senior year is centered around planning for the future. Whether you go to college, enroll in the military, travel, or work, do what’s right for you. While friends are important, follow your dreams, not theirs. It’s natural to want to go to the same school as the person you’re dating or your best friends, but it’s not necessarily the best path for you. College admissions advisers and counselors will give you advice and while it can be helpful, it’s not gospel. It’s important that there really is no best college in america. While schools may be ranked high by journals, media, magazines, and papers, it may not be your fit. It’s stressful to be expected to make life altering decisions when you’re only 17, so take your time, weigh the pros and cons, and choose carefully. Whether you end up going to Harvard or community college, do what’s best for you above all else.

  1. Define Your Own Success

It’s okay to not fill your schedule up with AP and advanced classes. It’s ok to take easy classes and enroll in courses you are passionate about or are interested in. It’s ok to choose a major that won’t make you a lot of money but you love it. It’s ok to not know what you want to do or study beyond high school. You define your own success. My senior year, I did a lot. I took a lot of hard and AP classes and I proudly held a lot of leadership positions. I worked. I did an internship. I juggled relationships and friendships. I wasted a lot of time looking at and applying to big or prestigious universities and colleges that I had no interest in attending. Looking back, I wish I balanced my life better. I wish I cut out things that I wasn’t passionate about but did simply because I thought I had to. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your GPA was or what university’s seal is stamped on your diploma. All that matters is that you love and accept who you are and what you do.

  1. Buy a Yearbook!!!!!!!

TBH this is a shameless plug. This yearbook is my baby and I will hunt you down if you don’t get one. But seriously, though it may seem obvious, you want to remember your senior year. Seniors spend too much of their year looking ahead, wishing graduation would come quicker that moments often pass by unappreciated. The yearbook is your chance to hold on and remember those memories. In 20 years you can look back at your glory days, your kids can laugh at how dumb you look in your senior photos, and you can have a piece of my soul tucked away on your bookshelf for the rest of your life (A piece of my soul for $60 is a bargain).

  1. Relationships Matter

I may be graduating but I am 10000% not qualified to be giving any type of dating advice. All I can say on that is having a boyfriend/girlfriend is not the most important thing about senior year by far and don’t plan your life around who you date in high school. But I can speak about friendships. If I could stress one thing about senior year above all else, it would be to find yourself. You don’t have to know what you want to be or who you are, but you need to know WHO you are. I mean what you stand for, what you’re passionate about, what you believe in, what you’re passionate about, what you’d fight for – that type of thing. I can promise you that when you figure that out, everything else follows. When you figure that out, you find your people, the people who believe in what you believe, love what you love, and stand for what you stand for. Graduating is great because you get to make the cut. Who gets to stay in your life and who you will actually never see again. This is why relationships matter. There is a difference between Facebook friends and real life ones.  You decide who gets to stay at your table and who gets to be there. Make sure you pick the right people.