6. You can earn college credit without the high price tag.
AP or IB exams can make for a super-stressful spring, but the payoff can make it so worth the work. These classes can give you a huge boost when registering for classes. You really don’t want to have to sit through (or pay for) a huge English lecture discussing the same books you just studied the last four years if you don’t have to. As an added bonus, bringing in test credit at some schools means you get to pick classes and meet with advisors before other freshmen, making it more likely that you’ll be able to take the classes you need and want.
7. A solid senior year can make first semester a breeze.
Tess Yocom, a freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia says she appreciates some of the challenges teachers threw her way senior year. “It's made college work so much easier,” she explained.
It will pay off immensely if you learn the basics about any given subject before wandering into a 300-person lecture about the topic. It’s a lot easier to get help and ask questions in a math class of 25 students than it is in a class of 250. Challenging AP courses also teach how to write a strong, convincing academic paper, how to logically present information, and other important research and writing skills that many college classes call for. Getting a grip on skills like these through challenging high school courses gives you a huge advantage.
8. Three words (or is it two?): Home-cooked meals
You’ve probably figured this one out already, but Hannah Orenstein, a freshman at NYU and HC High School Editor emphasizes, “High schoolers, take note: enjoy home-cooked meals while you can!” She says it’s definitely one of the things she took for granted while in high school. “My mom is a fantastic cook and she loves to whip up creative, healthy meals. Even though my school's dining halls are pretty health-conscious and serve high-quality food, deciding between the same basic salads, soups, and sandwiches for every meal can feel super monotonous.”
Most dining halls do offer a lot of fresh options for students to pick from, but lines can be long and the menu tends to repeat every two or three weeks, meaning your favorite can quickly turn into “Ughh, not that again” fairly quickly. Remind the family cook that you’ll soon be away at school, and they’ll definitely slip in a favorite dish or two for you to enjoy while you still can.
9. You still live with your family, including a furry friend or two.
Your senior year could be the last time you live at home full-time. Take advantage of having family nearby, and make sure to thank your parents for all of the work they’ve done to help you make it to your senior year! Your family consists of people that support you and have a huge role in shaping who you are and how you see the world. Enjoy them and all they have to offer during a busy and exciting time like senior year.
Don’t forget about non-human members too! Goldfish are pretty to look at and can make for a fun roommate-bonding excursion to the pet store, but they’re not exactly great companions. Enjoy Fido or Fluffy while you still can, and make sure to show them some love.
10. There’s that one person who really makes a difference.
Throughout the four years you’ve spent at whatever high school you attended, there’s no doubt that someone really made a difference. Maybe it was a teacher who got you to see the world in a whole new perspective, or turned you onto a possible college, major, or career goal. Maybe it was a coach or club advisor that helped you discover a new talent. For Kelsey Mulvey, it was her high school’s lunch lady. “She'd always acknowledge everyone by name, ask how your day is going, and compliment you on your outfit. Since I go to Boston University, which is such a 'small fish in a big pond' kind of school, I miss those small gestures,” she said.
Quirks like that are what make the high school experience so unique. Enjoy your time as a senior, because it really does go by way quicker than you’d expect. Take in the good, the bad, the awesome and the terrible, and remember: it’s only high school. The rest of your life is just waiting for you.