Class of 2017, it’s finally here. The time we have all been anxiously awaiting: senior year. White blazers, class rings, red senior shirts, cutting the lunch line and establishing ourselves as the leaders of the school. But with these perks come responsibilities, which, in turn, breed expectations.
As young women going into their final year of high school, it is safe to say that we have all experienced our fair share of pressure. Pressure from school, pressure from colleges, pressure from parents and even pressure from ourselves.
With junior year coming to an end, the transition has already begun. Emails from college counselors and prospective universities flood our inboxes, and our parents are equally, if not more, invested in this process with us. And when parents start getting involved, the stress levels can easily waver.
I think we’ve all found ourselves feeling ready to cripple under the pressure to meet our parents’ expectations. Although we may know that they only want the best for us, sometimes their version of “the best” doesn’t quite match up with our own.
And so, it’s not surprising that a lot of us have developed this misguided idea that the college we go to will shape our career, our future and ultimately our happiness. By validating this perspective, we add an unnecessary amount of pressure to our college selection process.
We need to remind ourselves that it’s important to remember that parents put this pressure on us because they want us to reach our full potentials. While it does become extremely overwhelming at times, keeping perspective is key.
Next year, when we all walk into the hallowed halls of Hockaday, we will experience many last firsts. It’s our final year to leave a mark on the community, so naturally we may start to feel a great deal of pressure to do so.
But even though it will be our final year at 11600 Welch Road, we still need to draw the line between a healthy and an unhealthy expectation for success. Even though we are the “leaders of the school,” we are still allowed to make mistakes.
It is true that as the senior class we are expected to be the model for underclassmen to look up to. But at the end of the day, we are still just teenagers trying to figure out what we want to do with the rest of our lives, something that does not happen overnight.
Going into senior year is a daunting experience for everyone with college and the future looming over us. But we must learn how to face our fear of failure.
The reality is, senior year will have its lows, just like any other year. Some of us will get in early decision into our first choice college and have our plans go exactly as we thought they would. But some of us may not end up where we planned. Some of us will inevitably face disappointment.
Unfortunately, there is no “how-to” survive senior year guidebook. But somehow, like every other class before ours, we will figure it out along the way.
So, as you are hanging up your green blazer up one last time and putting on your white blazer for the first, take pride in the fact that you have come this far. You have made it to the final stretch. Don’t get weighed down by unrealistic expectations for yourself.
It’s our last year. Make it count.