Deciding your future at 14

Josh Charest, Staff Writer

Throughout the past four years, people have been telling the class of 2014 the funniest joke I’ve ever heard, but never understood the punchline to until this year.

“Senior year is the easiest year of high school.”

You struggle through three years of hard work, long hours of studying, and multiple breakdowns due to stress, only to expect a relaxing final year. Then, senior year, you walk through the door of the high school and the realization hits you.

You realize it’s your last year to fix your mistakes; your last year to decide your entire life. The pressure hits you like a wall of bricks and the panic sets in. Some seniors never experience this, they just cruise by senior year, either because they don’t care or they already know that their goals of getting accepted to a four year school are not unattainable.

For others, it is the most stressful year. Personally, I haven’t had a good night sleep since my first day of school. Already knowing that I have to compete with students who have twice  my GPA, kids who on paper look much better than me.

I sit in the guidance office as so many other students have, the guidance counselor staring me down. I start to zone out after she tells me I have no chance of getting into the school I want, no chance of getting into any college that isn’t a community college first.

I can already see the life-long debt piling up before my eyes and the future I planned is getting farther and farther away. Not only having to pay for one college now, but multiple.

I have teachers telling me that there is nothing more important than getting into college; I listen to them set expectations that I know I don’t meet. I listen to them tell us that we need at least a 2.7 to get into this college, a 3.2 to get in that one. I watch my fellow classmates heads fall and hands cover their head as they start to believe they can’t meet these expectations either. Some even have tears in their eyes at times.

After seven periods of listening to people tell me its my time to decide my future, knowing that they are wrong because I decided my future freshmen year when I decided not to take school seriously, I sit on the bus and take that silent trip home. I walk through the door to my house and I lay on the couch, staring at the ceiling wondering what I did with the past four years of my life.

I get up and work on my homework for the next few hours, afraid that if I miss one too many assignments that my grade will drop and  hurt my chances even more. My parents come home and after four years of stress, disappointment, and fights they put everything out on the limb for me. They sacrificed things we couldn’t afford to sacrifice,  in the hopes that I could change the past three years.

Stress continues to build on me and I slowly start to crack until I just can’t take it one day. All I can think about is those past three years, where I looked up to those teachers from my seat in class, they gave me a smile and told me that joke.

“Senior year is the easiest year of your high school career”.

I look out in class, and every time the topic of college comes up I see not classmates, but the kids I grew up with, start to have panic attacks, tear up, give up on their dreams of going to the college they want to because they can’t believe that they can.

I look out to others. I see them relaxing, enjoying their senior year. To them,  I wish the best of luck, they deserve the year off. To those who gave up because of grades or  personal reasons, I wish you the best of luck as well.


But I refuse to give up, which makes it even more stressful,  I look at Emmanuel, they may not contact me  like all the other colleges, but I think that’s what inspires me to work harder. It was my dream school, and it makes me want to be better, so I stay up at night, sleepless, as I think of what I could do better.

I strive to prove I’m not what it says on paper.  I strive to prove to my parents that I can do what I promised them. But the stress is incredible, and takes it’s toll on all of us. Kids work harder than they ever have before because they don’t believe they are good enough. Kids breakdown daily because they realize they aren’t the best, and it’s exhausting on all of us.

Sometimes I wonder why I just won’t give up, why I keep putting myself through this unhealthy amount of stress. Then, I think back to that promise I made to my parents, to myself, that I would look down at the letter one day and see the word “Accepted” and I know that it’s all worth it.

The odds are stacked against all of us, for me personally, the odds seem to be something I can’t overcome. But for whatever reason, I wake up everyday and I put on a smile because I know that despite the looks of things, I can beat the odds.

But all I can think about, while doing my long hours of work, is that joke. Sure, the work they give us is easier, but it is by far the hardest year I have experienced.

I have my future and so much more riding on my shoulders, and every day it’s a chore to just wake up because I know that I will only feel more stress when I walk through the front doors of the school. So I sit at my assigned seat, listening to my teacher talk about college and I think back to that joke, and I’m just waiting to laugh.