Senior Authority


Emily Mueller, Journalist

There is an odd feeling of authority that comes with being a senior in high school. As a junior, you go about your daily life, stress about those perfect junior-year grades, the SAT, the ACT, credits, and you try desperately to make it to the other side alive. When summer finally comes, a shift occurs; at least it did for me.


I’d like to say I started planning my senior year and college experience years ago. I’d like to say I started seriously thinking about these things as soon as junior year ended. But that’s not really the case. When I had finally submitted my last assignment for my hardest class, I was relieved. I drove home, flopped on the couch, and fell asleep for almost an hour before my mom agitatedly shook me awake and told me I had five minutes to get ready for track practice. Life went on. But there was a little voice that kept creeping into my head, “You’re a senior now. What are you going to do?” That evil little voice.


I had to start making decisions. You have no idea how many times someone new discovers you are a senior and asks you what you want to do. Young kids get asked what they want to be, but that is expected to be unrealistic, to change. You suddenly become a senior, and everyone expects it to be set in stone.


I made some hard choices over the summer; I decided what classes to take senior year and where they would be, I narrowed down my college search, and I’m going to tour colleges in just a few days. But I still don’t feel ready, and that’s where the feeling of authority comes in.


I think, oftentimes, that seniors need this feeling so that they can avoid mental breakdowns and desperation. Feeling imperious means feeling safe. Senior year is the year of lasts before the years of firsts begin again. We’ve had so many years of firsts that we convince ourselves we have authority to advise. We know how things work; we know what to do when the online classroom shuts down, and we know that eating on cam is a no-no. We’ve practiced on-cam high fives so many times that we hardly end up smacking ourselves in the face anymore. We’ve done it all. We just need the security before we go out and begin everything again.


So, my opinion? Use this feeling to your advantage. Strut around and be slightly obnoxious with your advice. Do this, and eventually the false confidence will become undeniably genuine. And so will you. You’ve got this.