Helping Your Senior to Cross The Graduation Finish Line!

I wanted to share this great article I came across in “Your Teen Magazine.” The end of the school year  is nearing, and many of my clients are stressed and panicked about making sure their teenager is on track for graduation. I hope this helps if any of you are fighting the same battle right now.

Just one month remains in my college career. It’s a nostalgic time for all seniors, and I’ve begun to think about the friends I’ve made and the good times I’ve had. But I’ve also thought back on my experiences in high school before graduation. After all, it’s the only other major academic milestone I’ve experienced. I remember two main phases in my final month of high school. First was a period of stress. I was struggling in my AP classes and feeling anxious about college funds, along with fearing the impending end to many friendships and relationships I’d formed in high school.

But the second phase that came after the stress was apathy.

This was probably the most problematic part of my end-of-high school experience—simply not caring. For most of my high-school career, I was a very involved student, participating in theater, band, academic team, ski club and science club, all while taking advanced classes. But once I was accepted into the university I wanted to attend, and with graduation quickly approaching, I wondered, What the point in working so hard anymore?

Senioritis hit, and it hit hard.

Teens deal with stress differently; in my high school, some kids handled stress by working even harder, some by tearing their hair out. During this time in my life, I dealt with it by stepping away from the activities I’d previously spent my time on.

 
For many teenagers, stress and apathy are the hallmarks of the end of senior year.

I needed a few breaks, and I took them. I used all of my sick days (we got five per semester) and my parents allowed it. While juggling all of my classes, extra curriculars and college preparations, sometimes the quick fix to my stress was a day spent binge-watching Saturday Night Live, eating an entire box of mac and cheese, and sleeping in past 7 a.m.

More important than the lazy days was the fact that my parents supported my choices. They were understanding when I needed to take a day off to stay level-headed, and they were also understanding when I had to stay up until 2 a.m. working on an essay.

At the same time, once motivation is lost, it’s difficult to restore it. And I know that from experience. While I didn’t fail any classes, I also didn’t get the same A’s and B’s I’d been used to, and I was okay with that. My parents were okay with that, too.

But I think what helped me most was the effort my parents made to communicate with me during those final weeks of high school. I felt comfortable talking to them about everything I was feeling. We chatted about my friends, the end of my relationship with a long-term boyfriend, and my stress. We talked about it during my bad weeks and during my good weeks, and it helped me keep going despite the life-changing events happening around me.

By:  Anne Nickoloff


Anne Nickoloff is a senior at Case Western Reserve University. She worked as the director of print for the school’s newspaper, The Observer, and the editor-in-chief of its humor magazine, The Athenian. She has had articles published in USA TODAYCleveland Scene MagazineAlternative Press and Cellar Door. In her free time, Anne enjoys skiing, knitting, and exploring Cleveland.