Dealing with Senior Stress

Article by: Joaquin P.

Graphics by: Elena D.

Photos by: Cathy T.

The start of a new school year carries a lot of weight for students. Going back into one’s normal routine can be quite a shock after two months of relative ease. Being a grade older  carries responsibilities– something that is felt most by seniors as they start their last year of high school.

Among these pressing senior responsibilities is building an effective résumé for college applications. Another responsibility for seniors is the rigorous IB diploma program, whose requirements such as the Extended Essay, Internal Assessment, and Theory of Knowledge present formidable academic obstacles to success. In addition, seniors must maintain their commitment to extracurriculars and take standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT to demonstrate their academic aptitude to the discriminating admissions officer. Overall, these responsibilities pile up to create an already daunting senior year, but unfortunately, there is more than what is on paper.

A senior stresses over her EE in the library.

“People expect seniors to be mature and have their stuff together,” senior Georgia D. commented. “In reality, seniors still feel like sophomores and are just as confused as everyone else.” As a result, many seniors have different coping mechanisms to deal with the increased stress that comes with their status. “Personally, I work out or eat.” Georgia goes on to say. “Both make me forget for a second about the work I have.”

Isabella L., another senior, stressed the importance of planning in advance. “What helps me is making a schedule over the weekend for the week to come,” she explains. “In this way, I’m not following a day by day schedule necessarily, but I set out goals I need to accomplish throughout the week.”

Fresh ISM alumni also have advice for the newly-minted seniors. “Support each other. Senior year is already tough as it is, so there’s really no point in having drama or any sort of toxicity,” 2018 graduate Janelle P. advised the Class of 2019. “I had people I could trust and rely on all the while, so that really helped.” The alumni also encouraged the seniors to make the most of their last year in high school, rather than focusing entirely on their academic responsibilities. “Try everything you were afraid of doing. Don’t spend your last year wondering what would’ve happened if you went to that tryout, or signed up for that club. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” said alumna Sophia Q.

In turn, current seniors also had similar advice for underclassmen. “As cliche as it is, choose the subjects you love so that the work doesn’t feel like work,” said senior Liz S.

The year may only be beginning, but many seniors are armed to teeth with advice and have already planned out how they would get through the trials and tribulations of their last year of high school.