Senior Year

by Jon Thomas 11 months ago in high school

A Look into the Life of a Stressed Teenager

Senior Year

It’s the beginning of your senior year in high school and you are anything but happy. It’s supposed to be an exciting time in your life when you’re looking forward to all the experiences you’re going to get to have in college—if you decide to go—and then worry about your life. And not for nothing, senior year comes in hard. It comes out of nowhere like a freight truck at night without its headlights on in a 65 mph lane. It comes in so indescribably fast that you forget you have an entire year to enjoy before you ship yourself off into the world of early adulthood.

It’s that melancholy feeling you get when you and your girlfriend start talking about your dream schools, but then you realize you’ll be in different time-zones. And selfishly, you hope she doesn’t get in and that she stays closer to home because all you want is her…But then your reason comes back and you remember that you want nothing more than for her to be happy, and to live the life and dreams she wants to live.

It’s getting that dark sadness looming over you like low-flying storm clouds on the beach because you feel that your time in the same county is running out…But it isn’t as fast as you think it is. There’s still an entire year to live before that parting comes, but senior year. It just takes you over and it becomes so easy to forget.

It’s being old enough to have real responsibilities, but not old enough for adults to either:

  1. Understand that, or
  2. Empathize with you.

It’s that demanding boss of yours who knows you’re a senior in high school that’s trying to pay for a $100 car loan every month on minimum wage (plus gas), but he still slashes your hours and won’t increase your pay. But goddammit, I fought for that pay.

It’s working those long shifts on school nights because you do have to pay for that car and you know your family can’t afford to pay for it (though they’re way too proud to ever admit it) so if you want to be able to drive yourself to work and school, you better sign up for that 5-hour shift after spending 8 hours in school. Homework? Who even has time for that anymore? If you’re lucky, maybe when you work the office on Wednesdays that stupid phone won’t ring and you can try to bang out one of your two essays that’s due on Friday.

It’s getting home at 9:30 or later on a school night, trying to maybe study for that math test you have to take, because wow, do you suck at math. But you also want to talk to your girlfriend, because you feel like you don’t get to see her anymore. And then you have to decide: do you want to be a good student, or a good person? Personally, I’d rather die being able to say that I was a decent human being instead of my one teacher from high school reading at my funeral “well, he did get A’s.”

It’s that feeling of stress when you realize you spent an entire summer worrying about getting all those essays and videos ready so you can apply to that college that’s way out of your league. No, actually, not stress. That’s too underwhelming of a word. It’s that brain-piercing feeling that has you juggling so many responsibilities that you couldn’t think straight in your “time off.” So much, that when you’re done with one thing for the day, you have to rush to make the next, and what do you know? Great. You crashed your car. Now you have to deal with being responsible for your parents’ insurance rates going up, and you have no car for the next 2 weeks, maybe more. Did I mention you’re working two jobs right now? Yeah, now you’re driving your mom’s car and feeling that shameful guilt the longer that rental sits in your garage. Not a cheap solution, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet I guess.

Not only that, but now it’s the end of August and you realized that you didn’t enjoy more than three moments this entire summer vacation. But it’s senior year!

It’s sitting up late at night sometimes wishing that you weren’t so busy all the time. All the other kids are enjoying themselves at least a little bit. But not you. You’re too worried about the disappointing number from your direct deposit paycheck that you’re going to have to fight your boss about next week.

In fact, you’re so worried about making time, that you forget to appreciate the time you already have. You weren’t always this way. You used to be so joyful and willing to let life take you along for the ride…But lately it feels like it’s been dragging you through a cheese grater face-first. You want to make plans with those friends that weren’t in your immediate social circle but you still loved very much nonetheless…Now they either think you hate them or that you don’t care. Sometimes though, your day is made when one of those friends reaches out and sees that you’re going through a rough time.

It’s cursing yourself for being the black sheep of your class. You were never one for parties, or drinking, or smoking…But everyone you know seems to be in love with exactly that. To each their own, and you wouldn’t dare shame anyone for doing things that they like, but you feel lonely when it’s a Saturday night and you’re at home writing words into a composition book while other people are out having fun.

It’s…not knowing exactly how to end this story. You want to make some inspirational message for whoever it is that took the time to read this, but the truth is, you don’t have that inspirational message yet. Does this become the typical “do not as I act” story when I finally work myself into the grave, or do I change and learn how to relax? Only time can tell, and personally I hope that time comes soon.

It’s apologizing for taking your time, wasting it by not having a better message than “I feel bad,” yet still not asking for the pity I may have summoned. It’s hoping that the soul that reads these words is having a better time than me. It’s simply asking that today, could you try to find a way to enjoy yourself?

It’s closing this with this one statement: high school is nothing more than another component in life. Like all things in life, it is exactly what you make out of it. Personally, I’ve done a poor job at making it something worthwhile (for now), but whatever you do...stop blaming your problems on senior year.

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Jon Thomas

Musician, teacher, writer

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