Personal essay: How to have a great senior year


Kenneth Cochran

For Kenneth Cochran, the purpose of senior year is to “fully enjoy high school.”

I’m thinking of what I should do after high school. This is the year to focus on college applications and school work. My goals are to apply to nearby universities, finish my application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as I can, and continue working on assignments and studying for upcoming quizzes and tests. I’m taking fewer and easier classes this year than previous years. I don’t take advanced classes and I have early release every A-day and late arrival every B-day. This allows me more time for studying and working on my college applications. 

In my first three years of high school, I felt sad because I didn’t have much time to support my friends or classmates in school events. I had a full schedule, but I tried to focus on my schoolwork as best as I could. I cried almost everyday from stress and depression. I played the song “Mr. Lonely” by Bobby Vinton almost everyday from early 2020 to mid 2022. I struggled doing Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) – I missed my friends, classmates, teachers, and school staff. 

For those who still struggle online, I would recommend coming back in person to school. Students could lose motivation because of weak internet connection, household responsibilities, or noisy workspaces make it difficult to interact with their teachers.

For me, the purpose of senior year is to finally fully enjoy high school. Since seniors are more mature, they can go on trips every weekend to hang out with their friends: the park, mall, beach, or someone’s house. 

Kenneth Cochran and Lainey Spear at a football game for Beaverton High School’s Senior Night. Kenneth often goes to games and compliments them, saying things like, “Congratulations, I’m proud of you!” (Kenneth Cochran)

Spending more time with friends is one of the reasons I decided to take fewer and easier classes during my senior year of high school. I would like to get better grades from my easier classes, so my high school transcript looks better to colleges. I can catch up on college applications by working on them whenever I have time. I am able to support my friends and classmates while watching activities like sports games or theater performances. I can also help my family by doing household chores like washing the dishes, cooking food, doing laundry, and cleaning the apartment.

Some people can’t take easier and fewer classes in their senior year, because selective colleges want to see students challenging themselves. Luckily, the colleges that I applied to, such as University of Portland and Portland State University, don’t look for high school students to take four years of math, science, and social studies. These colleges don’t mind if students take only three years of math, science, and social studies. 

If some seniors are catching senioritis and not staying on track in their classes, I would encourage them to try to get enough sleep every night. They will feel more energetic throughout their day at school. This will help them with their assignments and preparing for tests. I also would encourage them to get organized by using a planner to write down their classwork, and checking their grades and attendance on StudentVue.

Kenneth Cochran and Devin Humpage enjoy watching theater, band, and choir events to de-stress. Kenneth occasionally participates in mixed choir activities to sing. (Kenneth Cochran)

There are some great methods I use to focus in my classes. First of all, I always check my calendar on Canvas to see what my class agenda is before class starts so I know what’s going on. The classes that I have on A days are mixed choir, Advanced English Language Development, being a Teacher’s Assistant in the counseling office, and early release. On B days I have late arrival, world literature, weight training, and Beaver Lodge.

Late arrival and early release are my free periods at school to work on assignments and study. I have late arrival and early release because I don’t have any siblings at home to help with chores. My mom and stepfather work for almost sixteen hours a day, and I don’t have much time to work on assignments at home. As a Teacher’s Assistant in the counseling office, my job is to deliver passes to students and teachers to specific classes. After delivering passes to students and teachers, I work on my assignments and study. Whenever I see upcoming quizzes or tests, I study immediately as much as I can.

High school students should also know that doing household chores is an essential part of growing up. Some seniors are already adults. It’s important for young adults to know how to live on their own since they have so many opportunities in their lives to learn. In the future, they may have a family to take care of. I’m glad I learned how to do household chores last summer and this fall. I learned how to ride my bike on multi-lane roads like intersections, and clean the apartment for my parents.

Kenneth Cochran and Benjamin Blanchard at an arcade to celebrate “Senior Sunday.” (Kenneth Cochran)

Furthermore, there are lots of fun things I do my senior year that are good for my mental health and help me avoid feeling lonely. These things are all new to me. I always celebrate ‘Senior Sunday’ by hanging out with my friends in fun places I want to visit. On holidays I hang out with my best friends by going to their houses. We also celebrate Senior Night by watching school sports, such as football or basketball. My friends and I join in with the cheerleaders by cheering for the athletes every Friday night. I enjoy watching theater, band, and choir performances with my friends to hear some cool music. Also, I’ve joined clubs and activities with my friends and classmates.

For example, a fun activity that I’ve joined in my senior year is writing for The Hummer, the school newspaper. I’m interested in writing articles that give recommendations for students on preparing for college and taking care of their mental health.

Kenneth Cochran and Samson Naleway at Beaverton City Library. Kenneth helped Samson research an article for The Hummer. (Kenneth Cochran)

Supporting people at school events is an essential way to make both yourself and others feel happy, and learn how to socialize with people. You can support people, take some easy fun electives to create peace of mind; join varsity sports, and have more time at a job to be able to support families’ needs.

In conclusion, students should focus more on studying and doing their assignments. It helps students develop good study habits and life skills for their future. It also teaches them about time management.