Your senior year is one of dichotomies. You’re excited about the future, yet terrified. You can hardly wait to leave your high school, small town, and the bubble you’ve spent eighteen years in, yet you’re going to miss the people you love, the stores and restaurants you frequent, and all the little luxuries of home. You’re technically an adult (or will be soon), but you still feel very much like a kid, too.
Of course, these contrasts are part of what makes your senior year memorable. Rather than dread the future or mourn the past, consider finding ways to make the most of the here and now, embracing senior year—and all that comes with it—and preparing to move on to your next steps with confidence.
Set your future self up for success
By now, you should have put some thought into higher education or your unique plans, whether that’s a trade school, the workforce, or something else entirely. One of the best ways you can take advantage of senior year is to work on more detailed plans for this transition. For example, you might have decided on your dream school and are joining thousands of college applicants in the stressful college admissions process. In this case, you might consider hiring the best college counselors to help make that happen. Your counselor or consultant can help you to make the most of your test scores and GPA, find scholarships and other college essentials, and help you move through the college application process with ease. Not choosing the conventional path of higher education? Seek out similar resources and consultants for whatever your plans may be.
Spend time with friends & family
Like it or not, your relationships are soon going to change, and that change is often an irrevocable one. You and your friends may go to schools on opposite sides of the United States or even abroad. You won’t be seeing your parents, siblings, and other loved ones on a daily or near-daily basis. You’ll keep in touch with the people that matter most, of course, but you’ll inevitably find that your friendships and other connections feel different after high school. So, when your friends suggest taking a road trip over spring break, it’s a good idea to search your closet for the best clothing for road trips, pack your suitcase or backpack with your car charger, clothes, toiletries, and other essentials, and hit the road. When Mom asks you to run to the grocery store with her, say yes and enjoy yourself. The goodbyes soon to come won’t be forever, necessarily, but that doesn’t mean you can make the most of the availability you have in the meantime.
Start some good habits
College—and young adulthood more generally—isn’t exactly known for its healthy habits and good behaviors. From the infamous “freshman fifteen” to late-night parties and study sessions, most people don’t find themselves instantly become responsible adults the instant they graduate high school. However, you can help the process along. Before you make the major transition into post-grad life, take some time to evaluate and refresh your habits. Maybe you’ll start studying for a set time every evening or begin a skincare regimen. You might start cooking meals, doing laundry, or handling other “adult” tasks on your own. Maybe you’ll start saving money long before student loans creep in. Your new habit could be as easy as stretching when you get out of bed each morning before diving into your daily routine. This way, these behaviors will be ingrained in you long before you move into your dorm or apartment.
Senior year (and all that comes after it) can be an intimidating, overwhelming period in a young person’s life. Whether you’re moving on to university or an alternative path, some preparation is certainly necessary to make sure you’re set up for success. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you make the most of senior year in a less focused sense, too. Make time to connect with friends, family, and the environment you’ve called home for so long—you’ll be grateful for these memories as time goes on.