The Day After May 1st: A Senior Figures Out What to Do With Life


Aidan Elsroth

You spent the majority of Junior and Senior year dealing with madness: running around trying to find guidance counselors and teachers, seeing if they would be willing to write your college letter of recommendation, hoping they liked you or at least knew you were in their class.

You applied to the same five colleges that everyone else was applying to because you only knew so many colleges and didn’t know what you wanted to major in… or you did what I did and avoided the norm, applying only to colleges that no one had heard of, because why not – praying that you were smart enough not to get waitlisted or simply that you would get into college.

You spent nights not sleeping because you heard Joe Senior got into a college that you thought he didn’t deserve to get into, and here you are, still waiting for the mailman to bring you a letter telling you to check your online portal to see if you got accepted. Once you found out you got accepted, you then learned that more colleges accepted you than you estimated, and they’re offering you more money. So, you go into a bidding war, trying to determine which school to choose so that when you come out, your debt is two grand smaller than it would have been at the other place.

To sum up, you survived the crappy part of senior year. But sadly, it took up the majority of the year, and to make it worse, you have to summon your last remaining will to at least maintain passing grades because you can’t fail yet. You’re in too deep, as Sum 41 put it.

The thing is, no one ever really talks about what happens after May 1st of senior year. Everyone says they can’t wait for May 1st to come, but they never really explain what it’s like when it comes. Does the Earth stand still? Do people freeze? Do we just start acting like we are in a cliché high school movie or TV show and just hold hands and sing Kumbaya until graduation?
The truth is we don’t.

We still have to go to classes (especially those students like myself who are being threatened with being held back because we are in attendance strike, stage one or two – and we have to show up on time or at least show up). My advice is, don’t regularly be late for class during the first two quarters, because losing your parking spot blows.

Did you screw yourself over by taking an AP or two? (For those taking a ridiculous three AP’s – or more – why would you torture yourself like that? You people are crazy.)

Maybe you’re of the select few who are dealing with looking at Super Senior status. To those who are, I have only this to say: did you try to fail or are you really that clueless? And if cluelessness is the determining factor, good luck because if you couldn’t figure how to get through high school, you gotta know that no one outside of this place is going to give you the hand you’ve been given here. But hey, high school forever, am I right?

Back to what happens after May 1st. May 2nd. After that, May 3rd. You see, the days just keep going forward, and after the AP exams are finished in mid-May, we are all pretty much done. We will still have finals, but our teachers know we are ultimately done, and all they want to do is help us get out of here. Alive.

Some of them just want to see us get out of here.

And then, all that’s left is waiting for college or whatever your plan is post-high school. My advice for all of those who will have to go through this next year, is these four things:

First, just try for the last bit. Show up for your Ted Talk or Senior Talk or whatever your mandatory thing is called, take the finals, then call it done. Don’t hit chillax on May 2nd, because you can still fail.

Second, don’t burn bridges. This means don’t end things on a bad note because you never know when you will grow up and wish you had gotten over it. This means, say you’re sorry to the people you hurt, thank the people who have helped you when they probably had better things to do, and mend relationships that went sour: you might need them in the future.

Third, try new things. You might say that you don’t like an activity or subject, but how do you know if you really dislike something if you’ve never tried it? Some people say they hate curry, and the next thing you know, they love mango curry and will even crave it every now and then. Maybe try an instrument. Worst thing, people make fun of you for playing the clarinet because you wanted to have as much clout as Squidward did. Whatever it is, try it. You don’t have to be the best to enjoy it, just like doing it.

Lastly, and most importantly, try to meet your other classmates – not just the same ten people you have always talked to since the beginning. High school is almost over. That means you will never see the majority of your classmates again. Don’t you at least want know how to say their names?

These last few days can easily be blown off and wasted, but why not try to make the most of your down time? Explore who you are a little, expand your world, and branch out. It may be just what you need as you are ushered into the next stage of your life.