12 Struggles Faced by Students at the Beginning of their Senior Year

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel...

After two years of experiencing both ups and downs in high school, grade 12 students are finally at the end-game; graduation has been set, post-secondary applications are being completed, and the adult world is imminent. However, the beginning of the end can be brutal for grade 12 students.

1. Senioritis: you’re already experiencing burnout and graduation seems so close, yet so far.

We’ve all heard of the word before, where your performance is inversely proportional with your workload and you can feel your motivation ebbing away while your to-do list just gets longer. Sure, it may usually occur after final exams/university acceptances, but after all of the work you put in grade 11, it’s already tiring jumping back into diploma courses and extracurricular activities. Graduation is only several months away, and it’s really easy to get complacent– but don’t fall into that trap!

2. If it hasn’t already started, you will be asked about your plans after high school A LOT.

The question, “what are you plans after high school?” will be the classic conversation starter as a grade 12 student, whether it’s with your friends, distant relatives, or complete strangers. It’s alright though, since we all pull out the question on each other. I’ve practically formulated an automatic answer to this question, which is an ambiguous explanation of everything I actually have yet to sort out for my future.

3. And you have to start thinking about how your plans coincide with that of your social circle’s.

Unfortunately, your friends probably won’t have the exact same plans for post-secondary; some may stay while others may leave, and it’s hard to imagine the separation after spending years together. Take advantage of this last year you can spend with them!

4. It seems like almost everyone has their post-secondary plans figured out while you’re still unsure (as your stress levels intensify).

Why can’t we all be like the students who definitely know what they’re doing — from their university major, to their top university picks and plans for applications? Although life seems easier if you have a plan, it is not the end of the world if you don’t know right now. There is still time to figure out your passions and preferences, and the worst case scenario is you end up changing majors while in university– which won’t even be that much of a setback.

5. There’s the constant debate between staying at the local university & financial stability vs. exploring a new place with the burden called student loans.

If you are like me, with a desire for traveling but financial woes, then you’re all too familiar with judging the pros and cons between the local University of Calgary and an external university. Well, that means more university applications to complete while I further delay all important decisions about my future! However, be sure to attend the University of Calgary’s Open House on September 30 if you are interested in applying– experience campus tours, attend the exhibit fair, and meet U of C staff!

6. Applications, applications everywhere! University, scholarships, and extracurriculars, oh my!

Ah, application season– a time where we basically rewrite our credentials to sell ourselves on several different forms. The beginning of the school year is when applications open for universities and scholarships, so alongside your schoolwork and regular extracurriculars, you need to dedicate time to finish these applications by the deadline. This is also the time where you feel completely inadequate as you fill out your “volunteer/community involvement” and upload your grades…

7. And for these applications, you feel obligated to cram your schedule to fill in possible gaps in your extracurriculars.

DISCLAIMER: This is not how grade 12 students should approach their last year! All too often, students pursue extracurricular activities such as volunteering so it can boost their credentials on their application; while it helps, one should be joining extracurriculars based on their interests or else they are set for a miserable experience that they have to endure. But honestly, making up for potentially lost time during the first two years of high school would be MUCH easier with one of those time turners from Harry Potter.

8. Your wallet will be emptying really fast, so you actually have to worry about budgeting your money.

You’re more conscious of how you spend your money as you keep in mind that each university application costs ~$100 and post-secondary fees in tuition, residence and meal plans are looming. Resisting that urge to impulsively splurge is a constant struggle, and getting a part-time job might be on your to-do list to save up some more money before the major spend.

9. At the same time, you want to explore outside of your comfort zone during your last year of high school and complete that avant-garde high school bucket list.

It’s the last year of high school! While still free from the responsibilities of a self-reliant adult, you might want to experience something before graduation, whether that’s a road trip with your friends or doing a senior prank. However, time is our greatest enemy and it feels like there’s almost no time left over with applications, school, and extracurriculars…

10. But your guilty conscience is always there to list the gazillion other things you should be doing instead of hanging out with your friends.

If you find yourself saying “I probably shouldn’t…” to a friend’s invitation, that’s your guilty conscience butting in to remind you that there are much more effective ways to spend your time. It might be true, but don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy yourself to avoid burnout.

11. Thinking about adulting is both exciting and SUPER daunting.

For those who are thinking of leaving for university, the thought of being responsible for ourselves is constantly at the back of our mind; you might want the independence, but you also might not be ready to be responsible for “adult” tasks like cooking, cleaning, and taxes.

12. But overall, be sure to make the most out of your last year of high school!

You’re at the top of the social ladder at school and trivial matters are still being covered by your parents; use this time to make connections, explore new things that you didn’t dare try before, and spend the last quality time you have with friends and family!

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