Being a Pace Senior Stinks. Seriously.
In the good old days, students looked forward to senior year: joyous celebrations of youth, no cares in the world, and a year dedicated to honoring intense schooling. Now, calling senior year a “hell hole” is putting it mildly.
From loaded schedules to college applications and never-ending leadership obligations, the entire Pace community expects seniors to glide through a gauntlet of struggles effortlessly, ignoring the stress it inflicts on students. Furthermore, administrators expect seniors to behave perfectly as if they should not have any release from the unreasonable load placed upon them. In other words, seniors are stuck between a rock and a hard place, set up to fail.
Take the college process, for example. Most students apply to five or seven colleges while some apply to over 12. Each college generally requires several essays asking students to explain their life stories through various literary devices, and an application so detailed a crime investigator would blush. But wait, there’s more! Interviews, mandatory visits, portfolios, auditions, and a slew of other requirements for applications bog down students to the point where they barely see their schoolwork.
To the typical bystander, these applications may not sound so bad. Yet, when one tries to balance applications with school, sports, extracurriculars, religious commitments, family and personal time, they suddenly become an immense source of added stress during the first semester.
On top of the college applications, seniors’ academic classes are among the most difficult at Pace. Abstract concepts, astronomical amounts of information, and Advanced Placement courses work every last neuron, tiring the mind. Loads of homework and studying reduce the time available for students to sleep, preventing the knowledge from being fully processed by the brain. Sadly, students must take these difficult courses to be accepted by elite colleges around the country.
However, academics and test scores are not the only aspect of a strong college application, making seniors take on more to compete with other applicants. It’s not as simple as participating; colleges want to see leadership. Therefore, students stretch themselves to lead clubs, teams, publications, or other extracurricular activities, which only adds to the already towering workload.
Maybe Pace isn’t the true root of the stress; maybe it’s the colleges and the application process. Maybe it’s a disconnect between students and teachers. Nevertheless, students are drowning, and no one really seems to care. With all these factors considered, there’s no question that seniors are ready to leave Pace. The true question is how they don’t completely burn out before graduating.