Seniors shouldn’t grumble yet…even though they want to be moving on from here
By Megan Stephan
Once upon an almost nauseatingly lovely November afternoon, two senior girls were sitting on the quad, under a tree, soaking up a little sunshine, having what looked like an important, possibly earth-shaking discussion. They didn’t look upset—a bit cold, maybe, since the temperature was hovering around fifty degrees—but not grievously distressed.
However, as I, the casual observer, stepped forward to do some shameless eavesdropping, I noticed that their voices contained much discontent, and their tones were noticeably bereft of joy.
“I’m so sick of this place,” said one to the other. “I just want to get out of here.”
Her friend nodded, responding, “It seems like it’s too early for us to have senioritis already, but I know what you mean.”
The two friends continued their discussion as I slunk away, trying to make sense of what I had just heard. (In retrospect, I suppose it was silly of me to bother slinking away, since I had been standing directly in front of them while I eavesdropped, but that’s beside the point.) At any rate, while slinking my merry way across the street, I considered their complaints. In fact, I too had been harboring a secret desire for spring at Milton in my foolish heart, although I had tried valiantly to hide it from my teachers, the college counselors, my advisor, and whoever else might be alarmed by my primal and premature desire to skip town.
I then went back to a day in the past, shrouded in the mists of time (or in my desire to block it out): my first day at Milton Academy. I was a callow eleven-year old, embarking upon the mysteries of the seventh grade, listening to the first welcoming address from the headmaster of my new school, Jerome Pieh. I remember only one thing from that first assembly: at one point in his speech, Mr. Pieh paused and asked all the members of the class of 1986 to stand and be recognized. I thought that was cool, and I noted with enthusiasm that someday I would be standing up with the class of 1991, being recognized for having made it through whatever was to come.
I have since made it through five more of my headmaster’s opening speeches, five Prize Day speeches, eight exam periods (some of you may recall that we used to have exams in November and April, instead of just January), three incarnations of the Student Center, and fifteen sports seasons. In short, I have been here for a long time.
It makes sense, then, that the members of my class and I are all preparing ourselves mentally to leave Milton, and perhaps jumping the gun a little bit, just as those of us who are day students (and maybe everyone else) are starting to feel like we are not the least bit upset about leaving our parents’ houses next year. Something is coming to an end—not quite yet, but soon, and since we’re forever discussing what’s going to happen to us next year, this year tends to fall by the wayside.
When we do notice that we’re still in high school, we are often irritated by this fact, sometimes justifiably, sometimes not. I hear my friends (and myself) wailing, “Don’t the teachers know that we’re doing college applications? Don’t they care that we’re suffering under huge mountains of work? Don’t they see that trying to balance classes and the fencing team and the coed singing group and my editorship of the Guard is killing me?” Milton teachers, of course, have dealt with the college application problem quietly and tidily for years: they make no special exceptions, and somehow each senior class manages to work their way out from under heaps of work and finish their applications, by some minor miracle.
Understandably, we’re itchy to move on, especially now, trapped in the pit that is senior fall, helplessly clutching a calculus book in one hand and a Middlebury application in the other, looking for the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. While we’re waiting, I have a few suggestions that may help us ease the passage to April: don’t let your conversation turn to the topic of college too often, try not to meet with the college counselors more than once a day, and don’t make little charts on the back of all your notebooks telling you how many days are left until Christmas break or March vacation, or June 7th. Also, you might keep in mind the advice that my advisor, the voice of all wisdom, told me when I indicated that I was counting the days until Friday the sixteenth, for reasons of my own.
“Don’t wish your life away,” he said, and I am trying not to.
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