We are merely three weeks into school and all LFHS students are already busy with their classes, clubs, and sports. Freshmen are learning the ropes, sophomores are enjoying not being the underdogs on campus, juniors are beginning to reap the benefits of being upperclassmen, and seniors are entering their fourth and final year at Lake Forest High School.
This, of course, is the most important year for seniors–the year they will make their college decision and begin to plan their futures. Yet being a senior often means that we have to figure things out for ourselves. There aren’t any older kids to help us with homework in a class they had the year prior or to take up the high tops in the Commons. Still, however, graduated students are still able to pass on their knowledge and give the class of 2018 several pieces of advice.
Spend as much time as you can with your friends
In such a small town, it is very possible that you have had the same friends since your elementary school days. One thing that becomes a reality during your senior year is that this will be your last year at school with your the friends you grew up with. It is also possible that you and your best friend could end up on opposite sides of the country by this time next year. Be careful not get too caught up in your college applications and remember that time with your friends is precious. Now this doesn’t mean you must drop everything and spend every second with your friends, but little moments are extremely important. University of Miami (Ohio) sophomore Nicole Karakazis (’16) stressed this.
“Even if it is a random midnight drive around town, You’re going to want all of the memories and times together that you can get before you have to split up and go to college.”
Having friends that go to your school is so exciting because you’re able to do so many things with them both inside and outside of school. You have a variety of options so it’s important to explore them. Grinnell College freshman Kevin Donahue (’17) explained some of the things he learned during his own senior year experience.
“Learn to enjoy the moment–whether it be a movie night with your friends or going to Knollwood McDonalds after a Friday Night Football Game. Not letting the little things get in the way of being happy and having a good day is one the biggest things that I learned over my high school career”
Go out of your way to make new friends
Although Lake Forest High School is on the smaller side compared to schools like Stevenson and New Trier, there are still so many students that you may not know. You may be able to recognize their name from or face in the hall, but it’s up to you to make them more than just a name. It is so important for you to put yourself out there because you never know who you’ll meet in the halls of LFHS. Maddy Moore (’17), now a freshman at the University of Vermont stressed, “Get to know people more than just saying, ‘hi’ in the halls. Go on a retreat and make yourself vulnerable to new people, join a club or sport that you haven’t tried. All of these things and more will be what lead you to be successful and happy in your final days at LFHS. Put yourself out there and make yourself susceptible to the many things that may come your way.”
No matter the level of senioritis, keep up with your school work
While having fun and spending time with your friends is a big part of senior year, it is also vital to stay focused on your school work. Colleges still look at both your first and second semester grades, so it’s crucial to keep up the hard work. This is especially important considering your workload will increase once you get to college. Emily Shea (’17) gave some insider knowledge on this topic:
“Do your reading assignments because in college, all homework is reading assignments.”
So while you’re having fun during your final year here at LFHS remember that you’re still here to learn and try to refrain from getting a bad case of senioritis.
Make time for the family
With a combination of Common Apps, participating in a sport, and trying to maintain a social life, it is easy to forget to make time for your family. You may find that your parents have been more sensitive since school started and that is simply because it is becoming very real that this is your last year of high school. As hard as it is for us to realize that in a year we’ll be heading off to college, it’s that much harder for parents to realize that their children are moving out and on with their lives. This doesn’t mean you must trade out Friday night football games for Friday nights in on the couch, but what it does mean is that you need to remember who got you to where you are today. A majority of us wouldn’t have made it this far without our mom or dad nudging us to do our homework or insisting we stay in to spend a little more time studying. So even if you don’t have the time to spend all day with your family, remind yourself to always check in with your family and make this last year as memorable as possible. Andrew Romack (’17) explained it best, “You only get one high school experience so enjoy every moment because it goes by so fast.”
Take Advantage of the opportunities you have as a Senior
While there has been some debate on the new rules we have, there are still many privileges to celebrate as seniors. Despite the recent disagreement on off campus passes, we are still allowed to participate in that luxury during lunch with adjacent study halls. However, it is still important to do so in a timely fashion. Charlie Asma (’15) reiterated this fact as well, “A Chipotle run will take your entire free period, so you can’t waste any time.” However, for those who don’t have the opportunity to go off campus, there are still many things you can enjoy as a seniors.
For example, those high top tables in the commons are awaiting you. For the past three years, we’ve watched as seniors sat with their friends in the commons, only to be shooed away due to the fact that the commons were “seniors only” during lunch. We spent our time in the upper commons and now we’ve finally moved onto the Commons. Our class has often times received the short end of the stick and had things taken away from us. Still, this year the junior class had the Upper Commons taken away from them and has been reserved specifically for seniors therefore making the upper Commons a senior privilege. Last but not least: senior parking, the most important senior perk. Despite the fact that not all seniors are chosen for senior parking, it is still quite the privilege to have. So if you do have senior parking, make sure you’re appreciative because you could be stuck walking from remote like the rest of the students. Also, if you didn’t get a spot, find someone to carpool with. It saves gas and is an easy way to get to school. That can be a tip for everyone, not just seniors.
Leave your mark
A recurring theme was brought up when reaching out to former LFHS students. They all believed that the most important part of being a senior is realizing this is your last chance to make an impact. This is your last year to show people who you are and what you did at Lake Forest High School. The good thing is this is something you have been doing since the first day you entered the building.
Whether you came in as a freshmen or this is your first year at Lake Forest High school, you have been given the chance to make your mark. Everyone has the power to do this, but the ones who will be remembered are the ones who made a difference for the betterment of the school. Charlie Reinkemeyer (’17), a current freshman at the University of Illinois, made a great point when discussing this topic.
“Do everything that you have always wanted to do, but have not been brave enough to do in the past.”
It takes courage to do this, but the littlest things can and will make a difference. Start saying “hi” to people in the hallways, start Peer Tutoring in a subject you’re good at, become the loudest fan at the sporting events, or join Tech Crew. Do something that’ll make the high school a better place and more importantly, make you happy. Daniella Martino (’15) had the perfect way to sum it all up.
“Leave LFHS better than when you started. The experiences you have today will shape the person you become tomorrow and the memories you’ll have forever.”
Overall, it is up to you what you do during your last year at Lake Forest High School. The most important thing is to do it without regret and to remember not to take these final moments for granted. Spend time with your family and friends, try something new, do your work and leave your mark here. It seems like just yesterday we were all walking into the Competition Gym with our stick on name tags and here we are less than a year away from walking across the stage on the front lawn to receive our diplomas. To keep it short and sweet, George Cook (’17) leaves us with a few words, “Senior year is your final lap of school before college. Keep your grades up, do good things, have fun and end on a high note.”