Thoughts from a second semester senior

The senior sunrise before the first day of school

The senior sunrise before the first day of school

Lakshmi Ojha, In Culture Editor

I always thought that by the end of senior year, I would have things together–my dream career planned out, the perfect college selected, and a sense of peace that I had survived high school. 

Despite my hopes, I am a little less organized  (honestly a lot more unorganized) than I had hoped. Being a senior appeared so glamorous when I began my freshmen year.

In reality, most of my high school experience has felt pretty redundant: a summer that whips right by and the formalities of buying school supplies and learning a new schedule. Before you know, it’s already Halloween, then Thanksgiving break, and soon enough, it’s the second semester. As they say, the days go slowly and the years fly by.

Senior year, however, has been a little different.

Waking up for the annual senior sunrise at 5 a.m. on the first day of school felt surreal. As the panini press sizzled, I stared blankly out the dark window of my kitchen wondering how I was already a senior. 

Sure, there were still the formalities of starting a new school year as always but with added fun:each time an annual event has rolled around this year, it is labeled the “last”.

Last football game. Last Homecoming. Last last days of finals before our last winter break before our last semester of our last year of high school. 

During these lasts, I couldn’t help but fixate on remembering the extreme excitement of being a freshman picking out my first homecoming dress or making loops around the football field at games because I was too anxious to sit down.

Experiencing these lasts as a senior was comforting. It felt like I had finally gotten it right. After my few years of practice I didn’t have to obsess over how I looked or who I talked to; I could finally enjoy myself.

When the year was young, these “lasts” weren’t all that scary. I simply talked myself into the fact that the days will drag by just like any other year. I was wrong, and here we are.

Like many of my fellow seniors, I am secretly terrified of high school being over.

Second semester senior. Three words that are tossed around the moment sleepy seniors arrive at school on the first day back from winter break, whether it’s the classic “How do you feel to be a second semester senior?” question that has haunted me for the last few months or teachers assuring their seniors that they know senioritis is creeping in. 

The title of “second semester seniors” reminds each graduating class that we are on the edge of something new, a transition into life after high school. Despite my comfort in gaining this status, I have begun to confront my uncertainties and anxieties, and I don’t really know what is to come after graduation.

I plan to attend college and visit my family every summer and text my friends even after we move away like many of my classmates. That’s not what worries me. What worries me is the inevitable change. It is being able to say “when I was in high school” instead of knowing that I am in high school. There is high school and then there will be college for me. 

I am ready to leave, knowing that I will not be the same person I am right now.

Although things appear to be slowing down I can’t help but feel that everything is speeding up and rushing towards me all at once.