Senior Stress

By: Annebeth Ahrenholz

Counselors were right when they said this would be the most stressful year of your life. With the daily homework assignments, stress from parents, teachers and the constant question of what next year will bring, some seniors have it all figured out, but others do not.

Especially with this week being College Application Week, the stress for seniors is at an all time high.

Senior Courtney Banwart knows that she wants to go to UNI or Mankato in Minnesota for speech pathology.

“I originally wanted to know before senior year started, but I have to retake the ACT, which I am not able to do until October, so that set back my plan a lot,” Banwart said.

Senior Sara Ashar also has a general idea of what she wants to do but is still deciding between a handful of schools.

“I know I want to go into pre-med and bio, but I am still deciding on many schools. I know the deadline is May 1, but I personally want to know by January.”

Both girls are feeling very stressed at this point in the year.

Senior Emma Gerdes has absolutely no idea what she is doing with her life next year. “I don’t know what I want to study, where I want to go to school or if I want to play basketball or not,” Gerdes said.

But this year’s seniors may calm some from the words of those who’ve been through all this before. CFHS alum Lauren Hayes graduated last year and said she wants to tell seniors not to stress. Everything will work itself out. “Basically people change their majors all the time, so there’s zero stress with that aspect of it. Freshmen have a ton of guidance and resources to help reduce stress when it comes to college,” Hayes said.

But the pressure points are everywhere. Ashar is feeling a lot of pressure from parents, teachers and school counselors. “I feel like they are trying to help as much as they can, but it just gets to be a little too much sometimes,” Ashar said.

Banwart said that most of the pressure she feels comes from within. “I don’t necessarily feel pressure from others, but more from myself. I am trying to get college applications sent in and my homework done on time,” Banwart said.

Banwart said she thinks she will be most successful in college planning if she plans ahead, but admits it can get hard. “I think it’s best to do your college visits your junior year. You just kind of have an idea where you want to go by your senior year, and you can work on scholarships. I like to say that I plan ahead, but I feel that I am rushing to get stuff done way later than I want to, so I’m probably procrastinating a lot more than I want to,” she said.

Banwart said she believes that her hard work and planning will pay off. “There are things you can kind of wait it out. When it comes to scholarships you need to be on top of that.”

Counselors stress that they are here for the students and want to help each one succeed. Erin Gardner has a few tips to share with the current seniors.

“Seniors right now are in the early part of the ball game when you are starting to apply for colleges. Honestly, hopefully, you have two or three colleges in mind. One being dream school, one being safe school. I know it’s very stressful right now, especially with questions from everyone. A lot of students are not sure yet, and it makes it even more stressful if they are the only one who knows in their friend group.”

Gardner encourages students to communicate with surrounding people that can help make the stress die down and the big decisions a little easier.

“Come talk to counselors, friends, family, siblings. We’re all here to help you figure it out.”

She also strongly encourages going on college visits, for they are beneficial.

“College visits are a number one priority. You don’t want to end up in August on a campus you don’t want to be on. Come to counselors to help you apply. We will get that done for you.”

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