A letter to juniors: My 5 pieces of advice


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A picture of three hands holding up graduation camps at dusk

Camryn Chehreh, Opinion Editor

I’ve always considered myself a bit of a preparer. Sure, like almost every high school student, I have a tendency to procrastinate on assignments and occasionally burst into class just as the bell is ringing, but I’m almost always prepared. I know what’s expected of me and what’s ahead of me. But honestly, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for my senior year of high school. 

If you would’ve said that to me a year ago, I would have scoffed at you. Not only have I been in AVID for years, and have lots of college friends, but I’m also the baby of my family- surely I of all people would know what to expect from my senior year. I, the preparer, was an idiot. I, the self-proclaimed preparer, had no idea what was ahead of me. Senior year can be scary, exciting, tragic, and so overwhelmingly joyous all at once. 

Before I leave Crofton High and my years as an AACPS student behind me, I want to pass something along to my younger peers; these are the top five things I wish someone would have told me going into my senior year of high school (and some words of wisdom that would probably send my junior year self into a coma). 

Give yourself some space and some grace. 

Going into my senior year, I had my mind set on what my next four years were going to look like. All the schools I applied to in the fall were basically the same but in varying northeastern cities, with one clear intended major. While I thought this was great at the time, I later realized I had put myself in a small, cramped box. The college I’m attending this fall was my last minute application after I came to this realization. I was so set on one idea that I didn’t allow myself to consider all of my options. While I’m extremely excited to attend my school this coming fall, I wish I would’ve allowed myself the space to explore more options during application season and save myself some stress. 

The only opinion that matters is your own. 

There’s a lot of pressure that comes along with choosing a college or post high school path, and to be honest, a lot of it comes from your peers. For most of my senior year, I listened to people tell me what university I should attend because it looked “better” on paper. The reality is, you’re the only one who is impacted by your decision. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to a “prestigious” school or not. What matters is if the school is a good fit for you as a student and as a learner. Besides, after graduation, nobody really cares where you end up, anyway. The only thing that matters is that you’re happy with your decision, and you’ve chosen what’s best for you. 

Everyone is going through a lot. 

I think it goes without saying that senior year is a LOT to handle. It’s a stressful time! Everyone around you is dealing with varying degrees of stress, pressure, anxiety, and extremely busy schedules. Senior year is also a year of big personal growth and change in many ways. Remember to stay kind, considerate, and true to yourself. 

Remember to make time for yourself and the people you love.

Senior year is the time for busy schedules. When I say busy, I mean REALLY busy. There were countless moments this year that I really didn’t know how I was functioning between my schoolwork, my job, my internships, and my personal life. I spent most of my senior year running from one activity to the next. Remember to STOP when you need to and take a BREAK! Your mental and physical health is so important, and it’s easy to push yourself aside when you’re busy. Also remember to spend time with your loved ones and friends this year while you can. Even if you won’t be far from home after high school, things will still be different, and you won’t have as much time to do so. 

You’re on your own, kid. 

Ok, fine. This is a Taylor Swift reference, you’ve caught me. How could I ever leave the Cardinal Nest without one? Senior year is the year of independence in every way. You’re going to have the freedom to make some big decisions for yourself. Remember to be thoughtful and wise when you need to be. You might be on your own, but you can face this! 

I want to thank everyone in the Cardinal Nest, and anyone who made it to the end of this article. I want you to know that even though senior year seems like this big scary thing, you’ll be alright. If I can make it out of senior year in one piece, I promise you can, too.