Seniors worry amid college decisions and online school



As assignment lists get longer, many seniors have began to stress over the end of their high school lives.

There’s a long-held assumption among high school students that junior year is the hardest year of high school. This year’s seniors say otherwise.

With seemingly no end in sight to the pandemic, classrooms have moved to platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet, and picking up and turning in homework has turned into a matter of navigating Canvas modules. Meanwhile, many seniors have struggled to adapt to this new format of school, and are feeling the pressure of needing to balance their time between college applications, extracurriculars, and for some, a job. 

Senior Jillian St. John has found the online environment hard as it has blurred the boundaries between school and home life. 

“I think that it feels like my workload has increased with online school but in actuality, it is probably less. With less teacher support and time where you are actually forced to work on school, it is much easier to get sidetracked and procrastinate, especially being in our homes with so many distractions,” she said. 

In addition to being a student, St. John is also a nanny. 

“So far [my job] has not been too stressful, but I have a much less rigid schedule than people working other places, like groceries, restaurants, etc, so I have been balancing school and working very well,” she said.

While being a nanny hasn’t been a main source of stress for St. John, she cites that college applications are.

“For me, it has been hard. I am applying to schools in the UK and in the US so I have to do two separate application systems. I am also a full IB student and we have a lot of assignments for IB coming up, such as the extended essay and different [internal assessments] for a variety of classes. Trying to balance that with college applications is overwhelming because it is so many essays,” she explains. 

St. John believes that many other seniors at Lincoln feel the same way. She has “noticed other seniors feel[ing] a lot of stress surrounding college [applications] a feeling that is only amplified by the uncertainty regarding “what next year will be like.” 

Senior Elliot Shin has a different story. 

In terms of balancing his own school responsibilities, Shin believes online school has been pretty flexible. 

“My workload during online school is a lot less than in-person… as teachers are trying to be understanding of different students’ situations,” he states.

Shin feels that he has adapted to online school “pretty quickly,” but credits this to being able to work well independently and comprehend classwork without much additional help. However, he is understanding of the situations of many other seniors. 

“I do… know a lot of students who are struggling. It’s really devastating to see peers not perform to their fullest since they can’t physically talk to their teachers when they are in need of help,” Shin explains. 

Despite these differences, there seems to be a growing sentiment among seniors regarding college applications and decisions. As the first college deadline has passed on November 1st, many seniors worry about what their futures will look like.

“I’m pretty stressed about college decisions. I’ve put a lot of work into my essays and I hope it will pay off in the end. The fact that a lot about our future is decided by a few essays and test scores is stressful,” Shin said.