Senior year: Although the best, brings most stress


Photo: Emily Latham

Senior Jake Shook collapses on a pile made up of Senior Research papers, Graduation paperwork, college applications, and senior picture bills.

The final year of high school brings a lot to the seniors of Fairmont. It comes with many advantages, like being the “top dogs” in the building, getting better parking passes, and shorter days in most cases. But it also brings a case that some are far too familiar with…the case of senioritis.

Senior year is the time to stress over SAT scores, fill out college applications, write college essays, raise your GPA, buy class rings, take senior pictures, attend senior prom, and purchase a cap and gown. Most think senior year is going to be a breeze, but if you ask the seniors, that is not the case.

“Senior year is not a victory lap,” Fairmont senior Jennifer Nichwitz said. “This is probably one of my most stressful years yet, which stinks because I thought it was going to be cake walk but trust me, it isn’t.”

Nichwitz, a varsity basketball player here at Fairmont, does not plan on playing basketball in college but has other goals in mind.

“I’d rather get to college based on my academics. Actually, I’m going to attend the University of Dayton and I’m thinking of pursuing a career in engineering,” Nichwitz said .

According to stress management, stress is a general term applied to various psychological pressures experienced by most people at some point in their lives. Different students have different ways to deal with that when it comes to senior year and the added pressure. 

“I usually just drink lots of coffee and I try with any free time during the day to work on other homework. Stress is inevitable I think,” Nichwitz said .

Others may take more of an active way to to relieve their stress by adding more to their plate.

“As a student, unlike most who just watch Netflix and hang out, I really enjoy to stay busy and active in my schools and community,” Emma Flanagan, a senior here at Fairmont and also Oakwood High School said.

Flanagan, a member of the CTC Program at Fairmont called DECA, ran for Ohio DECA president. She also has her own photography business. With a life as busy as hers, she still loves being involved.

“I just feel more productive if I’m involved in a project, a community service sort of thing, or volunteering at different charities,” Flanagan said.

Most high schools have Advanced Placement, or AP, classes for those who may want to challenge themselves a little bit more.

Flanagan is in several AP classes. “I really enjoy them because they challenge me and my academic experience. Along with that, they expand my current knowledge on specific subjects and interests of mine.”

Like many seniors, Flanagan also uses these challenging courses to help prepare for SAT and ACT standardized tests to ensure she does the best of her ability.

AP courses are rigorous. These college-level classes offered in a variety of subjects give students an opportunity to gain the skills and experience colleges require.

“They are pretty important I think because they show your weighted GPA. If you take advanced placement classes it also means less work for you in college in those areas,” Nichwitz said.

If you plan on attending college, turning in applications is imperative. But with that, stress can be at its highest when racing against the clock.

“I’d say one of the most stressful things about senior year is deadlines for applications,” Flanagan said.

More than just getting applications in on time, many seniors struggle with choosing the right college to attend after graduation.

“Everyone tells you, ‘Oh when you go to a campus you’ll have that feel or you’ll walk on the campus and know that it’s for you.’ I don’t think that happens to every student because I haven’t experienced that yet,” Flanagan said.

Many students stress the importance of choosing the right place, not just where your friends may be going. “Just make sure you pick the best college possible and the one you want to attend, not anyone else,” Daniel Bendel, Fairmont senior and varsity athlete said.

In the midst of all of that, a major task for seniors is the senior research paper required in FHS senior English courses.

“To me, it is the most important thing you will do your senior year. If you don’t do this is in my class, you’re not only failing second quarter but third quarter also,” Kristin Allen, Fairmont English teacher said.

The stress of this paper affects both the seniors and the teachers.

“Honestly, I might be as stressed as most seniors. It really carries with me because I’m suppose to be planning these kids for the rest of their lives. That pressure is all on me to make sure they are taught what they need to know, and plan them for what colleges are going to expect them to know and do,” Allen said.

According to most current studies and surveys, music is actually a cure for some stress. Faster music can make you feel more alert and concentrate better. A slower tempo can make you feel soothed when trying to get rid of stress.

“Of course I’m stressed because it’s school, but when I go home and listen to Nicki Minaj my stress goes away,” Justin Sommers, Fairmont senior said.

Sommers had some advice to give current juniors who will soon be in his place as a senior.

“No matter how stressed you are, you could always be more stressed.”

May 19th is the day most seniors have been working their whole lives for, high school commencement. Even though your senior year holds stress, high expectations and anxiety, it also houses fond memories and experiences that lead you to your final accomplishment.

“In ten years I would like to be a biomedical engineer designing prosthetics or developing cures for cancer,” Bendel said. “Don’t let others define who you are as an individual . Don’t let the stress get to you. Be yourself, do what you want, and wear what you want. Happiness is only limited by you, remember the little things. Go Firebirds!”