The change that occurs in four years of high school is dramatic, to say the least. The difference between entering freshman year and senior year is the difference between riding a bike and driving a car, being the understudy and being the lead, or even from babysitting to working a part time job. However, the most dramatic difference is the perspective change that most students experience.
Being a freshman in high school is a huge jump from being an eighth grader in middle school. Not only are students going from being at the top of the school to the bottom again, but high school itself is a different experience. “You walk in, you’re not knowing what to do, the seniors look really old, and when you bump into people, you’re the one that says sorry,” says senior Mitchell Auer of his first days of freshman year.
Senior Sarah Agoff experienced similar feelings, saying, “I think freshman year I felt like people were judging me and looking at me like that ‘little freshman.’” However, the intimidating feeling of being a freshman didn’t come out of nowhere, and most seniors had expectations for how high school would be.
“I thought it would be a lot like the movies,” says Auer, “I thought freshman would get dumped into dumpsters and seniors would make fun of everybody.”
Other students had more simple fears about the high school social scene. Agoff says, “I thought it was going to be a lot harder to find people that I felt comfortable with, but it happened pretty quickly.”
Senior Lexi Ramil had similar qualms, however she found a way to get past them. “Since I came here knowing hardly anyone, I had to come out of my shell and learn how to make friends. It was such a new experience,” she says.
The first year doesn’t always define the entire high school experience. Entering into a new year can be difficult, especially as an underclassman, but when it comes to being a senior, most students are much more comfortable and excited than they were in previous years.
“Freshman year I was nervous going in everyday, but senior year I come in and I feel like I own [it],” says Auer. This feeling of confidence can come from anything, be it finding a comfortable niche, or being involved in school activities. For Ramil, it is the latter. She says, “Being on spirit squad has really helped create that typical high school experience for me because my job is to be at every single football and basketball game, dress up for every spirit week, and be a part of every rally.”
As for the future of senior year, most students are excited for the year to be “more chill and relaxed,” says Agoff, due to fewer classes and shorter schedules.
Others are ready to pump up the spirit and go all out for every school event. Although college application due dates are looming closer for the majority of seniors and anxiety is setting in, most are simply looking forward to the fun times they are hoping to have.
However, excitement and comfort are just two of the many mixed feelings that students may be experiencing. While freshman year may have been a monumental period of adjustment, senior year is essentially preparation for another monumental adjustment: leaving grade school.
For some, it means going off to a four year college. For others, it means working or travelling. Whatever the situation, senior year brings the end of something that has been building for the past 12 years.
For senior Chad Bolanos, the realization came at a football practice. “Before practice…the whole team had a group bonding session by singing Colt 45, and I said to myself ‘this is the last year I can do this with my friends,’” Bolanos says.
A look back to freshman year can reveal the changes that have occurred in the past three years. But despite the sadness, restlessness, joy, or anticipation that comes with becoming a senior, the year hopefully serves as a springboard for the future.
As senior Alex Phinney says, “I don’t see why people have senioritis already. Because this is really the beginning of the rest of our lives.”