For many high school seniors, “Pomp and Circumstance” starts playing in our heads the minute we step foot in the door for our senior year of high school. Cut to winter break, and even more of us will be slipping into a “senior slump,” counting down the days until graduation. While finally receiving your diploma is an awesomely satisfying experience, it does come at a price. Check out some of the reasons you might want to slow down and savor your last few months of high school life.
1. You have a little room for academic mistakes.
It’s Friday, you’re in your last class of the day, and really just ready for the weekend to begin. Too bad your teacher has other plans, and evilly begins handing out pop quizzes! Whether it’s a test you’re not prepared for, or an assignment you forgot to do, little mistakes like these happen to everyone, and usually aren’t a big deal – if you have some wiggle room with your grade.
Grades in college are different than they are in high school. While your senior year civics class might consist of lots of small 10-point assignments, quizzes and homework points, in college, that grade will most likely be the result of two or three test scores, and the occasional paper or two. That safety net? Not so roomy anymore. Every assignment counts.
Jessica Salerno, a junior at Ohio University advises, “You can't brush off bad grades in college. If you retake a class because you didn't feel like studying the first time around, that could easily cost upwards of a thousand bucks. ”
2. You’re finally on top!
Senior year is your last chance to soak in all the fun parts of high school you’ve enjoyed since freshman year with added top-dog status. Flaunt that seniority and enjoy being a starting member of your school’s varsity volleyball team, going after that lead role in the musical, cheering your heart out for the football and basketball teams, getting outrageously pepped up during spirit weeks, and soaking in as much school spirit as you can stand. Because once you start college, you’ll be back at the bottom again…
3. Senior year also means prom!
Admit it: being a good big sis wasn’t the only reason you watched Disney’s Prom. Whether it’s the thrill of being asked (or doing the asking yourself!), picking the perfect dress, or getting glammed up on the big day, prom is the perfect end to your senior year.
One of the coolest things about prom is there’s no “right” way to do it. Even if you don’t have a boyfriend or date, go with a group of friends and enjoy the evening. It really is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events. Besides, when else will you get to wear a floor-length ball gown in a totally crazy color that you’ll be sure to laugh about many years later?
4. You’re in a much smaller setting.
At this point in your school career, you’re probably fairly comfortable with your classmates, and know them pretty well. Take advantage of those relationships with one another, and with the teachers as well, since it may not be the case at school next year. Unless you’re planning on going to a smaller school, most universities have at least a few large lecture classes where the professor won’t know your name unless you make a point to visit during office hours, and you may not have many (or any) friends in class with you.
If you don’t understand something, ask for an alternate explanation. Use small classes to form study groups for finals, or to work on class projects. And as always, don’t be afraid to use your teachers as more than a simple college reference. Most high school teachers are far easier to communicate with face-to-face than college professors will be next year. As an added bonus, you don’t have to trek halfway across a huge campus to meet with a high school teacher either!
5. You get to see your best friends every day.
Erica Avesian, a junior at the University of Michigan says keeping in touch with close friends and talking every day is one of the things she misses the most about high school. “Now that we all go to separate colleges and have our own busy schedules, it's hard to keep the friendships as strong as they once were,” she said.
Skype and text messaging make staying in touch easier and way more convenient, but they’re not as personal. Take advantage of each other’s close proximity, and make a strong effort to create fun, lasting memories that you can carry with you to college. Don’t forget the camera for photos to hang all over the dorm!