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The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

Senior year survival guide

Sophia Garcia ‘24 pictured reading the ultimate Senior Year Survival Guide for the best year possible. Photo by Maria Boutros ’24

Ahh, senior year – a time where the days are long, the friendships are strong, and the memories are endless. It’s the grand finale of one’s high school adventure, packed with excitement, nostalgia, and a touch of senioritis. Amidst the chaos of college applications and final exams, senior year can also be a blast if you know how to navigate it right. Everyone is different, but I have curated 10 of my top pieces of advice that I would give to anyone who will soon become a senior. These tips  will help you navigate through the ups and downs of senior year and things to keep in mind as the future is near. 

1. Don’t slack, keep it up!

As the end of your senior year approaches, it may be difficult to keep up the motivation and strength to complete your assignments or even show up to class. Take it from me, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to find the strength to keep going. As the year progresses, although the grades you earn in these classes will not make or break your college decisions, you will still be gaining knowledge from them that can help prepare you for the classes you’ll take in college next fall. Moreover, these classes  are also going to be so much fun.  In physics, you will start building your rocket and  arcade game, blast yourself through the hall with a fire hydrant and best of all, participate in the regatta. For your SRP class, you will pick a topic that interests you and find information that will broaden your horizons and make you knowledgeable in that subject. I get it. School can seem pointless when you’re a senior, but you should cherish these moments. These are the times when you can hang out with your friends and strengthen your connections with your teachers.

2. Find guidance in your teachers.

Our teachers go through the senior process with all of the senior classes, and they can provide guidance if you reach out to them. Although teachers are meant to educate you, they can also be friends who will help you inside and outside of the classroom. Not to mention that during the first semester of senior year, you will have to pick teachers to write you a recommendation letter, so making genuine connections with them will make your process 10x easier and will make your letters sound better and more personalized. I made  a strong connection with Ms. Jones, whom I will never forget, throughout my experience on the Hill. She has given me both college advice and life advice, and is always willing to help me with anything I bring up. It is nice to know that I have a connection with a teacher who knows me on a personal level and who sees me as more than just the assignments that I hand in. If you find guidance in your teachers, your senior year will fly by. When you begin to like a teacher, you begin to like their course and will do well. Trust me. 

3. Do not limit yourself to a friend group.

As your year comes to a close, it is important to remember that every single Tolog in your class is probably going through the same thing that you are. Like you, they’re stressed about the future, the rest of senior year and where they’re going to end up for college. When you are on the Hill, we are all sisters. Although you may have a friend group that you feel comfortable with, you will be surprised by how many close friends you will find if you don’t limit yourself to a single group. Take genuine time on retreats and other class bonding activities to reach out to someone that maybe you don’t usually talk to. Especially this year, I have become closer with so many girls that I wouldn’t talk to during my freshman, sophomore and junior years. I wish that someone would have told me sooner to branch out because the friendships that I have made this year could have been stronger and greater if I allowed myself to make new friends back then. Making new friends doesn’t mean leaving your friend group for another, but simply making the effort to know other people and create strong bonds with them. 

4. Get started on your college application when you’re supposed to.

I know, the application process seems daunting. If you want to stay on top of it, keep up with the deadlines. I think that the worst thing that you can do for yourself during this already stressful time is to be behind on your applications. Listen to your college counselors and start your applications during the summer. This doesn’t mean getting nearly close to finishing them, but jotting down ideas and getting a head start on your essays will help you immensely. By the time that you actually start your senior year, you might already be editing your essays. The first draft of your essay won’t be perfect, so you’ll need to revise it multiple times. And by the time that deadlines draw nearer, you will be happy with the application that you have been spending months on and ready to submit it. So take advantage of the time the college counselors have to work with you on your application. Meet with your counselor during lunch and Tolog Time  if you can. There may seem like a lot of time before the deadlines, but it goes by fast. Starting your application sooner than later will lift a huge weight off your shoulders..

5. Cry.

When you feel the tears start to form, let them out. This is a year where everything is changing. It is normal to feel sadness or stress. I have spent countless nights crying because of the uncertainty of the future, but trust me, after you shed a few tears you will feel better. Senior year is a time where you are learning a lot about yourself, and with growth comes pain. So much pain. Pain about the future, leaving your friend group, leaving your family and leaving behind a part of your life that has been “normal” to you. If you are feeling this stress, I want to say that it is going to be okay and  that crying should not make you feel weak. It should make you feel powerful. Powerful in the sense that after you leave the Hill, you are going to be an independent woman. There are some nights where you are going to feel anxious and restless and all you can do to make yourself feel better is to cry. Take time during your retreats and especially the Kairos retreat to cry. You will be bonded to others who feel scared to cry, and vulnerability is beautiful. It is normal to cry but also know where to draw that line. If you think you might be too stressed then you should probably reach out to someone provide help. 

6. Talk to your mom.

Don’t push away your mom when you get in your head. Realize that soon she will be saying goodbye to her daughter. Your mom is someone who should always be there for you and give you the crying shoulder that you will need. My mom has become my best friend and I have found this apparent in my senior year. Trust me that your mom understands you way more than you think. When you feel lost about the future and what is to come, talk to her. Your mom is older than you, and with age comes wisdom. She might give you advice that you want to hear and sometimes she might tell you something that makes you upset, but she knows you best.  Find comfort in your mom and create a strong bond with her that you will carry when you are in college. Your mom’s advice is the most genuine and at the end of the day she is the person who will look out for you the most. I’m not saying don’t talk to your friends, but make an effort to talk to the person who is closest to you in your home and in your heart. 

7. Value your alone time 

It is okay to be alone. There are times during your senior year when all you want to do is by yourself and that is completely normal. Finding balance in being with your friends and being by yourself is something that is so important, especially during this time of doubt. I used to think that I had to hang out with my friends every weekend almost as a way to distract myself. Like I said, with age comes wisdom. As I have grown older, I realized that being by yourself will force you to think about things that will only come up when you are comfortable with being alone. Create a positive environment for yourself where it is possible to flourish and grow. I value my alone time which usually looks like sleeping, walking or simply scrolling on my phone for hours. All of that is completely normal. When you learn to value your alone time you will realize that your life will become more peaceful. You don’t have to worry about anyone or anything else when you sit with yourself. Protect your energy. Shelter your aura. Be alone. 

8. Get your license ASAP

Some dread the license process and others can’t wait to drive. If you want my advice, GET YOUR LICENSE. As you begin to become more independent that also means that you will start needing to take yourself to and from places. I know that the permit process is tedious but if you really study and put your mind to it you can get it. And it is so worth it. Get a spot on the senior lot! When you finally get your license it will be hard to imagine your life without it. Sooner or later you will need to learn how to drive, so I say, start learning sooner. If you are involved in any after school activities or sports then I would say it’s time to give your parents a driving break and start driving yourself when you can. Driving is a gateway to freedom and opportunity. Having your license allows you to explore new places, meet new people and take control of your schedule. It’s super convenient since you can drive on your own time and  you don’t have to ask your parents and friends for a ride anymore. Don’t slack, get your license ASAP.

9. Reward yourself 

Yes, you shouldn’t slack and yes, you should start your college applications early on, but also don’t forget that it’s important to reward yourself. Rewarding yourself can be as big or small as you want. When you feel stressed out, turn off your computer and go get a sweet treat or go on a drive (when you get your license of course). Rewarding yourself will make you feel like you can achieve more because you will give yourself some time to relax and collect yourself and your thoughts. At the end of the day, it is important to find little things that can make you happy. Not everything in life is academics and prioritizing rewarding yourself is one of my biggest takeaways as a senior. When you feel like you have been doing too much work, feel comfortable with the idea that you are allowed to take a break. Maybe that break means 10 minutes or maybe that break will mean a nap that will carry onto the morning. Recognizing and celebrating your achievements, no matter how small, is crucial for maintaining motivation and mental health. It’s about finding a healthy balance between work and relaxation, knowing when to push forward and when to take a step back to recharge.

10. Be ready to move on.

This is a survival hack that I am not too sure I have accomplished yet. Moving on is something that is really hard and will take a lot of time. Some of you might be excited for the future but for me, the future is scary. Moving on doesn’t mean moving out of the country but can be moving on from your home, your friends, moving on from the Hill. Don’t push back this idea of moving on because sooner or later it will be knocking at your door. Cherish these last moments but acknowledge the fact that all good things must come to an end at some point. The future is scary but it should also be exciting. This is a time in your life where you can make decisions on your own and become independent which should be thrilling. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family and mentors who can offer guidance, encouragement and perspective during times of change. Lean on them for support as you navigate the ups and downs of moving on and transitioning to new phases of your life. Above all, remember to be patient and kind to yourself during this process. Moving on is a gradual journey, and it’s okay to take small steps forward at your own pace. Trust in your resilience, embrace the possibilities that the future holds and believe in your ability to thrive in the face of change.                              

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About the Contributor
Maria Boutros
Maria Boutros, Social Media Manager
Maria Boutros is the social media manager for the Veritas Shield and a senior on The Hill this year. She started working for the paper her junior year and has loved being a part of the paper and posting fun and interactive instagram stories. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and going to Malibu for shopping and tanning. Overall, she is excited to be working on the Shield for her last year.

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