Hello and goodbye seniors

I am not one of those people who has been waiting to be a senior since the first day freshmen year. Subconsciously, I think I always believed I would drop out before I actually made it to senior year, so I never spent much time thinking about it. I’m also a little worried that the world will end before I graduate. But as soon as that fourth period bell rang last Friday, signaling that the seniors officially had no reason to return to New Trier ever again, I became weirdly excited for senior year. These last few weeks I’ve either been staring at my senior friends, silently pleading with them not to leave me or whining to my junior and sophomore friends about how alone I’m going to be next year. I even cried on the last day of track. Do you know how awkward it is to cry on the last day of track when everybody knows you have one more year of it? It just makes you look like an overemotional mess. Which I am, but I don’t want everyone else to know that.

But when the seniors started walking towards the gyms to get their yearbooks signed, screaming that they were down with New Trier FO-EVA, I realized that I was pretty much a senior. My friends assured me that I was most definitely not a senior yet and promised me that I still had time to fail my classes with such conviction that I began to wonder how poorly they thought I was doing in school. However, they couldn’t stop me from walking down the hallway shouting, “SEEN-YERS” to random people until I got one too many “what the hell are you doing” glares.

And then I realized another beautiful thing about being a senior; there were only one thousand people in the school who could judge me to my face. I no longer have to worry about the opinions of two, or even three, grades like I did when I first came to New Trier’s Winnetka Campus. Or worse, freshmen year when I felt I had to be cautious of over four thousand kids. Although, I was never really in an uncomfortable situation with an upperclassmen freshmen year, except for the time my friend started a “Freshmen! Freshmen!” chant at a football game and I thought he was going to get shot.

I want to believe that senior year will be a time of minimal judgment filled with happiness and sunshine. According to “Glee”, my senior year will consist of multiple relationships with boys from various social cliques, becoming best friends with everyone in my grade, being crowned Prom queen and having the entire grade sing good-bye to me when I leave for college. Half of the people I talk to tell me senior year was the best year of high school, a year filled with people prancing through the halls merrily, wearing their green team sweatshirts and singing the New Trier fight song. Of course, this scenario is obviously exaggerated, as no one knows the words past the “Here’s to our team…” part of the fight song. The other half of seniors told me that senior year was the most stressful part of their lives, that they were up until four in the morning every night working on college essays, that they had no time for friends, family, food or sleep, and that I would probably not make it through the year. Those people are no longer my friends.

People say every high school experience is different, but really every student bumbles through high school the same way, trying to be cool but mostly just saying awkward things and accidentally hitting on people. And while I’m overly enthusiastic about becoming a senior, I know the graduating seniors are freaking out with excitement about leaving high school. They can finally start their lives as someone edgy or classy or deep or chill or tan or crazy or trash or artsy or fratastic or whatever else they want to be. And whatever they want to be, there’s about a fifty-five percent chance they’ll become it.

So, good luck class of 2012. You’re going to need it.