As I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, I saw my school had posted a countdown clock to the first day. I don’t know who’s marketing idea that was, but goodness, that picture was depressing. Maybe for the elementary ages, still with wide eyes and a love of schooling, they jumped for joy at the realization that classes are right about the corner.
Me? I’m going into my senior year. There isn’t any jumping going on over here.
You walk down the street, casually browsing store windows. As soon as you return home, you have to clean your room, but for the moment, you have twenty minutes to kill by looking at trinkets and treasures you can’t afford. Just as you’re stopping to admire a giant, overstuffed teddy bear in the corner window, you’re surrounded by flashing lights and overlapping chatter. You struggle to keep your eyes open as someone shoves a microphone towards your face.
“Can you tell us what it’s like to be going into your senior year of high school?” someone asks.
The crowd doesn’t await your reply. “What college are you planning on attending after your graduation?”
“How are you preparing for your impending adulthood?” Another microphone is shoved towards you.
“What area of study are you pursuing?”
“When do you plan on leaving your employment in the local fast food chain?”
“What field do you want to go into?”
“It was featured in a recent article of Family Christmas Letter that you don’t yet have your driver’s license. Are you making plans to acquire that in the near future?”
“How many SATs have you taken? Do you have any scholarship offers yet?”
Question after question pelt your ears, leaving no opportunity for reply; the only thought you have is, When did I become some kind of celebrity?
Eventually, someone chases the news teams and paparazzi away, and you check your watch. It’s time to head home to clean your room.
This is how I feel about senior year. I was just checking out a giant stuffed teddy bear, and all of a sudden, I’m supposed to have my life together? Following basic and accepted American procedure, I should have spent this summer doing college tours. I should have a college, major, and occupation picked out. But I don’t. I spent this summer working, and the word college makes me cringe.
You go into your final year of public high school education, and a spotlight is put on you. “Surprise!” a random announcer voice calls from somewhere in the auditorium. “Your childhood is coming to an end, and the rest of your life is beginning: welcome to adulthood. Get your life together.”
My senior year was supposed to be a break from crazy scheduling: I worked my butt off the first three years, under the impression that I could have a calmer final year. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. I meant to take the minimum of courses in my school, and dual-enroll in a community college, or get a job, or spend time developing my writing. Surprise! You can’t do that anymore, and I now have a full-course load. Meanwhile, I need to be figuring out which socially approved (and unique) college-box I’m hopping into for the next phase of my education. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to pay them tens of thousands of dollars a year, for classes that aren’t vital to what I’m doing with my life, so I can go into massive student debt.
Perhaps that’s cynical of me. Oh, well. You know what the spotlight does to celebrities.