When I was looking through my camera roll to find photos for this blog post, typing in 2019 felt so wrong. Like, how was my senior year of high school in 2019? Quite literally so much has happened since then. From moving away from home, growing, to overcoming homesickness, to dealing with losses of different types, to gaining confidence and direction, and just learning so much along the way, it’s been a jam-packed four years. I thought it might be a cool idea, now that I share more about myself on this blog, to go back and share some snippets of my senior year of high school and compare it to my senior year of college. I think I’ll focus this post on the first semester of senior year and do another for next semester!
I remember the first day of senior year of high school being so exciting and festive; there were all kinds of traditions (and for some reason I also had a chem quiz on the first day) and after school we went over to a friend’s house and had ice cream to celebrate the start of the end (that is the first time I remember realizing that ice cream messes me up — oops). I remember, I was excited to make the most of all the traditions, but there was still a lot of uncertainty as I had only just taken the SAT and was just about to start the long process applying to colleges. I remember that I would write at least one essay a week, and by the end of that first semester I fully could not bring myself to write another essay. Even though it was nerve wracking, doing all the work to determine what the next four years of my life wold look like, everyone else was also going through it at the same time so it didn’t feel as bad. Maybe that’s why senior year of college feels so different? I’m very fortunate in that I already have my job for after graduation nailed down and I know what my life will look like after college. I’m not in this phase of trying to pull everything together with the stress of wondering if it will all pay off, which I’m very grateful for.
It’s easy to look back at that time and think about all the fun festivities that were going on, but I also remember being so chronically tired and stressed about doing everything I could to maximize my chances of getting into different colleges. There have been a few times in my life when I’ve experienced a sort of panic in a specific moment and they’ve all been during an exam when my mind completely blanks and I spiral thinking about all the consequences of failing it. I remember, one of the first times that happened was when I was taking a calc exam senior year of high school; I had missed the actual exam to take an assessment for a college so I had to make it up the next day and I remember getting so in my head that I was in tears and panicking. That’s one of the things that I’m able to look back on now and recognize a lot of growth from that point. It’s been a long journey, but I now know this about myself and have learnt how to prepare and help myself so that I don’t end up in this situation. That experience that semester was one of those awakenings where I was like, “okay Yasmin, you need to calm down” which was hard for me to do with so much riding on that semester, and with having to make up for that absolutely terrible grade on a calc test, but it was a really important lesson to learn at that time.
And so, I made my way through the rest of the semester, slightly more calm, submitting my first applications and doing my first round of college interviews and waiting to see what happened. That was also an emotional semester because that September was when we were sending off my older sister for her first year of college. I’m one of four siblings and we’re a very close group, so I remember being so upset that this was the start of us breaking apart for college. I kept thinking to myself, “this is the end of childhood.” It’s funny to think about that now because I think there’s maybe a few of weeks in a year that me and all of my siblings are together and in the same place now and we savor those moments so tightly, but if I were to tell my high school senior self that, she would have been distraught.
My high school also did lots of fun traditions. One of the best traditions was when all the seniors dressed up and went to the top of the Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest building, to get cool photos and go to a brunch after – it’s a very Dubai experience! We also had “treat” days every month where the senior class would get all kinds of snacks and treats on a school day. I feel like, even though we don’t have all those festivities and traditions handed to us at college, my friends and I still try and do things like that for ourselves in our senior year. For example, we have a weekly dinner club, plan cute dinners and outings (I think we’re going to a pumpkin patch soon?) and do all these thing to make the most of the final year. I don’t know how to explain it, but its’ a bittersweet feeling to know that the end is coming, and that feeling of wanting to see as many people as possible and make all kinds of memories while also trying to stay afloat with everything else going on.
Not even that they’re anything crazy, but some of my core memories from this semester so far have been sitting on my bed with friends drinking tea and catching up for hours, doing long walks with friends to the monuments at sunset, sitting on the couch with my roommates just laughing and saying silly stuff, a wholesome movie night and cookie baking, and dinners with great groups of people. Like I said, this year feels similar to senior year of high school in that I’m trying to make the most of it and being in the same place as all of my friends for the last time while also trying to keep track of everything. However, it is the best kind of busy to be!
If you did want to have more of a glimpse of my senior year, I took the liberty of looking through some of my old posts from senior year which you can find here: “I’ve been at school for 14 years, here’s my back to school advice”, “A little food for thought – change”, “Five things I love about my expatriate life”.
It was very cringe-y for me to read these old posts, so I very much hope that you appreciate them.
This was a fun little post to write and reflect on that time. I thought it might be fun to continue this series and share some stories from the past at different times of the year and reflect on them (maybe next semester and around graduation time?) I hope you enjoyed it!
See you next week,