"Your schooling may soon be over, but remember that your education still continues." — Anon.
As opposed to the general idea, senior year is not all hunky-dory or laid back. In fact, it is anything but laid-back. This is where your management skills are tested. Managing everything during your final year of high school is nothing less than managing life itself. The beginning of a new life (the start of the rest of your life) will take place, the toughest decision (the choice of college) has to be made, the toughest exam (where are you really headed) needs to be given, and the toughest goodbyes (parting ways with your closest friends) have to be said. Doesn't sound easy or laid-back anymore, does it?
Senior year is challenging; it puts your ability to outshine yourself to the test. It is a bridge which takes you from your present to the start of your future. A single mistake now could affect you for the rest of your life. One wrong step, and you might never be able to achieve your childhood dream of becoming a musician, or a traveler, or a doctor.
But do it right, and you could be at the top your game for the rest of your life. How should you do it right? Where should you not go 'wrong'? Here's how: avoid these most common senior year mistakes, and you will be just fine.
Not getting started with the college admission process in time.
You are highly, highly mistaken if you think that you can start applying to colleges and universities once you get done with your senior year. The time to commence 'contemplating' about an admission in a reputed college, and start working towards it begins right from your freshman year. If you wish to increase your chances of getting into the institute of your dreams with a scholarship, don't wait until the second semester or the end of your senior year.
Thinking it's okay to skip classes.
Yes, no one really cares if you attend classes or not. It's not like school anymore. You're right, it's not like school anymore, where you expect your teachers and guides to constantly keep an eye over you, and breathe down your neck about your homework, assignments, and grades. You need to think for yourself. Skipping one class might mean losing out on valuable information that could help you with your research, upcoming tests, SATs, or even your college selection.
Not making complete use of resources that are available.
Counselors, guides, mentors, advisors, professors, and your teachers are a rich source of experience that you should utilize effectively. They have been guiding you for quite some time now, they know your potential and the heights you can reach, they know what you are good at, and which college or university will help you achieve your best. Not talking to them about your future plans, and asking for their advice could make you fall short of reaching your goals.
Failure in time management.
The biggest event of high school is the senior prom. The biggest exams of high school are the SATs and the ACTs. The biggest decision to make remains selecting your college. The most important task at hand is studying and excelling at your senior year exams. All this and many more extra-curricular activities, like prepping up for the annual day, getting ready for your dance scholarship, and acing cheerleading routines need to be squeezed in your hectic schedule without compromises. With so much on your plate, the worst thing you could do is not manage your time efficiently, and be a jack of all trades, master of none
Not setting priorities.
Your agenda includes Senior Prom Queen, Best Sportsperson of the Year, and Princeton University. Your goals are clear, but you need to prioritize them to be able to achieve them all. Then again, these are comparatively long-term goals, and that doesn't have to mean you lose sight of what is at hand and needs to be accomplished. Not submitting your research paper that was due this week (which you thought would be okay, since you were busy practicing your prom speech), could affect your grades, which would necessarily affect your chances of getting in at Princeton.
Procrastinating current responsibilities.
Gaging your career prospects, making plans for your future, thinking about studying abroad, doing your MBA, and working for the best companies are super-exciting thoughts that run through your mind at the speed of light. While it is encouraged that your current actions should be decisive of your future, work your way through it in such a way that your current responsibilities be met with complete dedication as well.
Failing to prep for the Financial Aid Process.
Senior year will be over soon and it will be time for college. College is expensive, and failure to think how your expenses will be met and covered is the biggest mistake students make. Keep track of scholarship programs, the FAFSAs, and other financial aid programs that help students get in the institute of their choice with comparatively lesser monetary investments. Even if your parents can get you in any college you wish to go to, take it in your stride to compete for yourself, and experience the high that comes with being proud of your achievements.
Getting too overwhelmed.
It is bound to get emotional. Friends will part ways, tears will flow, application rejections will let you down, the burden of tasks will set you back, and the anticipatory future will keep your mind running 24×7. It is extremely important to maintain your calm in such a situation. You should know that things will get done, and anything that happens to you will happen for the best.
This time of your life, once it passes you by, will never return. You should live every moment in it, capture every memory in your mind, dream as if nothing is impossible, laugh harder than ever, cry louder than ever. But this is also the time when you need to work hard to make those dreams come true. This time, when you need to put in your best, will also never return. Make your future worthwhile by 'working' the present, make your present worthwhile by 'living' the present. Strike that balance