Senior Year: A Balancing Act of Growing Up

Senior Year: A Balancing Act of Growing Up

All of my life I grew up hearing “Do not grow up too quickly!” or “Stop wishing you were an adult; you will regret it!” Something that could be easily dismissible in the innocence of my childhood ended up being something I catch myself beginning to say to those younger than me. I never knew how much those words would mean to me until it became too late for me to hear them anymore. Senior year has turned into the most pivotal point of my life filled with life-changing decision making, teaching myself how to balance, and worrying about adulthood all while still being seen as a child.

As of the moment I type this, my life is in a very frustrating and confusing state- easily the most frustrated and confused I have ever been. I entered my senior year nearly two months ago thinking I had it all figured out. I knew exactly where I wanted to attend college and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A couple of days before the school year began, I had even been accepted into one of my top-pick universities. Unfortunately, the following two months would reveal to me that I did not love that career as much as I thought I would, and I no longer could see myself doing it for the rest of my life. Fortunately for me, though, a new passion unearthed itself; one I can happily see myself doing until I can retire to my extravagant beach house with my equally successful future husband and our four corgi dogs. Again, on the downside, this new career choice is not offered at the school I had already been accepted to. To make matters worse, the best quality programs in my home state will certainly be a challenge to get accepted to, forcing me to get out of my comfort zone to look at programs outside of Texas. Unless I get accepted into the program of my dreams here in Texas, I know I need to have a backup plan- even if that plan means dropping everything I have ever known and moving over a thousand miles away. Being faced with such decisions on a very short notice has definitely been a challenge, but Momma did not raise a quitter.

On top of the stress of figuring out where I want to spend the next four years of my life in order to shape the entire rest of my life, my typical daily schedule proves to not be very helpful at all. Whoever said “Oh, senior year will be a breeze!” did not have nearly the same experience as I have had thus far. My day begins when I wake up in the morning, take my brother to school, and go to my college psychology class at 7:45am. After my psychology class, I go to high school from 8:45am-2:30pm. My day, however, does not end at 2:30pm like some of my classmates. My second college class of the day, biology, takes place from 2:45pm-4pm with a rigorous lab from 4:30pm-7pm on Mondays. On the days that I do not have a lab, I can be found working as a cashier and retail sales associate from 5pm-9pm. Finally, after being very active for nearly 14 hours, I finally get to go home, eat, do homework, and possibly have time for sleep before I wake up and do it all again. That does not include fitting in personal time, time for my boyfriend, and the precious last moments I have with my family before I take flight and leave the nest. In previous years of high school, my schedule did not compare to how overwhelming this year has been. This year, teaching myself how to balance responsibilities has proved to be nothing short of a challenge. I had to play a budgeting game with my time; learning to give each individual responsibility enough of my day to complete a little bit more than the bare minimum. This learning process even led to me deleting social media apps I used to think I could not live without in order to focus on more important things such as homework. I will confess: I overloaded myself this semester and will certainly be reconsidering what I can and cannot handle come January. Figuring that out, however, comes along with the trial-and-error process of balancing.

Another balancing act that comes along with growing up comes with finding the line between childhood and adulthood. For me, personally, seventeen has been nothing short of confusing as far as being treated as a child versus being treated as an adult goes. My mom gives me the opportunity to go to bars to see my boyfriend play in a rock band on the weekends but will turn around and yell at me to clean my room the next day. My dad lets me join in on the “adult” conversations but gets on to me should a curse word ever slip through my lips. I have reached an awkward point where I find myself unsure of which age I should act: sixteen or eighteen. With balancing the mentality of being an adult, I must also balance the responsibilities of one. In order to prepare me for the “real world,” my parents require me to contribute to bills. When I received my very first paycheck from my very first job, excitement overtook me when I saw more than two digits in my bank account for the first time. I had already began to make plans to go shopping at the local mall when my mother gave me my first bill for a car payment. The excitement of being able to buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted soon faded when I realized that I would need to teach myself the art of budgeting in order to take care of responsibilities before I can do what I wanted.

Thinking back on my hectic life schedule, I often wonder if I made a mistake and jumped into adulthood too soon. Instead of spending time with my family in my warm, comfortable home, I spend time learning biology at a cold, uncomfortable lab table. Instead of going out with friends to see the latest blockbuster hit, I spend my time at a cash register with complete strangers. Sure, I will be ahead of the game when I go to college and have the money to pay bills, but could my “taking care of responsibilities” be worth the sacrifice of enjoying the last few moments of childhood?

Luckily for me, I still have roughly five months to figure out where I want to go to college, I can mold my schedule to be less overwhelming and maybe even take online college courses instead of on campus courses next semester, and I will hopefully figure out this whole “adulting” thing as I go. Growing up has certainly taught me a lot about balancing, and I know it will get easy with time. However, I will not hesitate to tell those younger than me to stop trying to grow up so quickly, for they should take the time to slow down and enjoy childhood while it lasts.

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