Stress: Senior Year vs. Freshman Year

Teenage Student Studying Hard --- Image by © Randy Faris/Corbis

© Randy Faris/Corbis

Teenage Student Studying Hard — Image by © Randy Faris/Corbis

Briana Bowers, Writer

High school is meant to be the time for transitioning from childhood to adulthood when students figure out who they really are and who they will become. With that comes the reality of four years full of endless stress. What the seniors of Saint John Vianney High School are now realizing as the first term nears an end is that the stress they’re facing now is very different from the type of stress they dealt with freshman year. A few seniors voiced their thoughts on the major stressors they’ve faced over the last four years.

“My stress levels have skyrocketed. While freshman year was stressful because I was trying to fit into a new environment, [senior] year is even more stressful because I’m trying to apply to colleges and figure out where I’m going to be in ten months,” Amanda Christian explains, “There’s more pressure to do everything ‘one last time,’ but there’s also pressure to get your academics, community service, SATs, and colleges applications sorted out. It’s a lot harder to manage the balance between work and play now”

“Yeah, it has definitely increased,” Taylor Castineira adds, “honestly, senior year is more stressful than most people realize. Between working outside of school, getting ready for college, and hours of current schoolwork, I’m ready to rip my hair out.”

Many seniors have been in for quite a shock during their final year of high school. Senior year is traditionally viewed as an “easy year” – the grace period between high school and college. It’s the year when everything is done “one last time” and the final high school memories are made. Despite this, seniors still face high levels of stress throughout the first few months. Although it is practically the last year of childhood before fully developing as an adult, there are serious adult choices to be made. “Senioritis” may already be present, but there is certainly no time for breaks just yet.

“The change really started last year. I’ve had to start seriously thinking about my future and it’s not easy. It’s time to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives and how to support ourselves while maintaining good grades and not slipping up in our last year of high school,” Kristen Chan tells, “The first two months of senior year has been filled with college applications and essays and visits. We’re really trying to figure out what direction to go in and it’s probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever had to do”

It seems as if high school students have constantly been consumed by stress. Though the stress over college started well before senior year, it wasn’t the initial stress most faced. Starting high school may have been the scariest thing for some, which is what most freshman stress over.

High school is meant to be a transitioning period. The stress of freshman year comes from all the major transitions made. It’s a new environment filled with new people where many find themselves to be made new as well. Freshman year opens the door to the time when everyone’s lives are meant to be changed, and that can be seen as stressful.

Although freshman year can be seem like the start of a whole new world, senior year is the time for preparation of this on a much larger scale. The stress of a new beginning during freshman year of high school seems almost trivial compared to the thought of freshman year of college.

“Freshman year I was worried about being in a new school with new people, it was a different kind of stress,” Jamie Galyas says “Now, during my senior year, all stress revolves around college. Getting good grades, taking the SATs, applying to colleges and choosing the best one for me – it’s all very stressful. Balancing school and work on top of this makes it difficult to maintain.”

As the first semester nears an end, most seniors’ stress levels are at an all-time high. Luckily, things should begin to calm down as college acceptance letters come around and the senioritis spreads.