The Stress of a High School Senior


Kelsey McGuggart, Entertainment Editor

Here we are, in the 21st century, and seniors all over the country are being forced to apply for colleges and take a multitude of standardized tests whether they want to or not. High school seniors now experience a whole new level of stress compared to the seniors ten years ago, or even five.

Colleges are significantly increasing in popularity, competitiveness, and price. It seems that to “make it” in the “real world,” you need to be a college graduate, with an ample degree and a boatload of debt to pay back for the next 40 years of your life.

Seniors, especially in 2015, are becoming so engrossed in their college applications that they are forgettingor simply cannot focus ontheir last year of high school as much as they’d like to. Between school, work, community service/voluntary work, SATs, ACTs, and family responsibilities, it has become nearly impossible for seniors to focus on anything else.

So, why do we have to go through this stress? Why do our families, our teachers, and our friends make us feel as if college is the be-all and end-all? That without it we might as well be living on the street: no job, no money, no life?

“In terms of families, they always want you to do better than they did, and teachers have looked out for you since the day you walked through the doors in ninth grade and want to know you are in good hands,” beleaguered senior Jill Leavey says.

Many students feel as if there is no way to survive without a college degree, yet some of the most successful people we know today either have no college education or dropped out. Now, they are in the top one percent of our society. For example, Wolfgang Puck is a world famous chef who quit school at the age of 14. Our beloved Walt Disney? He dropped out of school at 16. Steve Jobs, the savior of the 21st century, the cofounder of Apple, dropped out of Reed College. Rachael Ray, whose net worth is roughly 60 million dollars, never attended college and actually has no professional training in culinary arts. The founder of Tumblr, David Karp, didn’t even finish high school. So is furthering your education so important and essential?

I asked senior Val Kress if hearing of these successful people and their lack of college education made her feel any better about the college process, and she said, “Nowadays, college is the next step. No matter what these successful people accomplished without higher education, it probably won’t occur for us if we don’t attend college.”

We are told that all of our stress will be washed away once college applications are done, but what about everything else going on in our lives? Work, family, the rest of senior year… does it ever end, or does it only become masked by newer stresses?