Senior Citizen: let us be in the moment


Canva by Emma Dela Cruz.

Devon Helmer, Managing Editor

This previously ran in our April 2023 print issue. 

Last August, as I embarked upon the journey of my final high school chapter, my mom wrote a blog titled “Advice for your Senior year.”

This message of hers stemmed from a moment we had shared at lunch on the last Friday of the summer. With school, and as a result, this next step, looming on Monday, I asked my parents, “What would you say to a high school senior?” My mom’s blog was incredibly touching and compassionate, giving me the warm and fuzzies I needed to enter the Hive doors three days later. 

What I didn’t realize, as her writing was reshared among friends on Facebook and the comments and likes began to roll in, was that this was really the beginning of the end for me. No, I don’t mean that I failed to recognize that this was the end of my high school career: I failed to realize that this was the end of normal conversation. Every one from that point forward became college-centric. Gone were the days of being asked how I was doing: here were the ones of constantly being pressed about my future plans. 

I entered the fourth and final quarter of my senior year just a few weeks ago, and I officially feel like I’ve reached the point where I’ve served my time – at least enough of it to share my final opinions and experiences with senior life.

With the stresses of the end of the year approaching, I’ve grown reflective of my last year at EHS. If I could go back in time, I really wouldn’t do anything differently – I’ve learned a lot, grown a lot, laughed a lot, and gotten myself as involved as I wanted to be – I wouldn’t have it any other way. What I would change: learn early on not to entertain the conversations that left me an anxiety-and-stress-ridden mess for no good reason. If I could have tattooed this information across my forehead, I would have saved myself an overall boatload-rollercoaster of emotions.

So, since my mom already covered what TO say when it comes to a high school senior, here’s exactly what you are NOT going to say to them. 

DO NOT ask them about what comes next. 

It is likely they have absolutely no idea, but if they did, what gives you the license to know? Senior year serves as a hefty chunk of time where your future sits in this realm of the unknown; for many, this happens to be incredibly anxiety inducing. 

Pressing them to share before they are confident in their choice or simply before they’re ready is not the way to go about this. 

It is understandable that you want to know what’s next – don’t worry, we do too. The news will be shared when it is ready to be shared. What does it matter if it’s now or May 1?

DO NOT say “These are the best four years of your life coming up, don’t waste them!”

 Wow, what a way to say you peaked at the ripe age of 22! I am so glad that you, as a middle-aged person, are standing here admitting to me that every year of your life that you have endured since your college years has not been nearly as fufilling as the one that commenced after your bar tour on your 21st birthday. It must be awkward when you say that to your husband and children, who have likely come into the picture after the fact.

Yes, the next four years could very well be among the best in a person’s life, but they could also not be – and that’s okay. Filling a still-impressionable mind with expectations of how their next steps “should” be is setting them up for failure, and diminishing their ability to create a path for themselves that truly serves as their own. 

DO NOT overshare your experiences.

Chances are your time at [insert name here] university or just college in general was decades ago: life on a college campus is likely going to be different now. Your ideas of what was cool, what was fun, and what was lame might have changed since you were a student. 

It’s incredible – college campuses now have sliced bread and electrcity! You should return to your “old stomping grounds” sometime and see.

DO NOT ask “What are you going to do with your life? How are you going to make money?”

FASFA is due June 30 – if you are truly this concerned about finances, you might as well volunteer to fill it out for the poor student you are harassing. We are young and mostly naive: majors may be changed and dreams will adapt to follow such changes.     There are no set plans right now, and that’s both the beauty and the horror of this stage of life.