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Senior Year of High School: Helping Your Student Survive Senioritis

Just one month remains in my college career. It’s a nostalgic time for all seniors. And I’ve begun to think about the friends I’ve made and the good times I’ve had. But I’ve also thought back on my experiences in high school before graduation. After all, it’s the only other major academic milestone I’ve experienced.

Senior Year of High School: First Stress, Then Apathy

I remember two main phases in my final months of senior year of high school. The first phase was the stress. I was struggling in my AP classes and feeling anxious about college funds. I also feared the impending end to many friendships and relationships I’d formed in high school.

But the second phase that came after the stress was apathy.

This was probably the most problematic part of the end of my senior year of high school—simply not caring. For most of my high-school career, I was a very involved student with many advanced classes. I participated in theater, band, academic team, ski club, and science club. But once I was accepted into my dream university, I wondered, What’s the point of working so hard anymore?

Second semester senior year of high school, senioritis hit, and it hit hard.

My Parents’ Support During Senior Year

Teens deal with stress differently; in my high school, some kids handled stress by working even harder, some by tearing their hair out. During this time in my life, I dealt with it by stepping away from the activities I’d previously spent my time on.

I needed a few breaks, and I took them. I used all of my sick days (we got five per semester) and my parents allowed it. While juggling all of my classes, extracurriculars and college preparations, sometimes the quick fix to my stress was a day spent binge-watching Saturday Night Live, eating an entire box of mac and cheese, and sleeping in past 7 a.m.

More important than the lazy days was the fact that my parents supported my choices. They were understanding when I needed to take a day off to stay level-headed, and they were also understanding when I had to stay up until 2 a.m. working on an essay.

At the same time, once motivation is lost, it’s difficult to restore it. And I know that from experience. While I didn’t fail any classes, I also didn’t get the same A’s and B’s I’d been used to, and I was okay with that. My parents were okay with that, too. After all, it was my last year of high school.

But I think what helped me most was the effort my parents made to communicate with me during those final weeks of high school. I felt comfortable talking to them about everything I was feeling. We chatted about my friends, the end of my relationship with a long-term boyfriend, and my stress. We talked about it during my bad weeks and during my good weeks, and it helped me keep going despite the life-changing events happening around me.

Anne Nickoloff is a senior at Case Western Reserve University. She worked as the director of print for the school’s newspaper, The Observer, and the editor-in-chief of its humor magazine, The Athenian. She has had articles published in USA TODAYCleveland Scene MagazineAlternative Press andCellar Door. In her free time, Anne enjoys skiing, knitting, and exploring Cleveland.

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