Senior Fall: Reflections from the class of 2020 

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By: Zoe Denbow 2020

As senior fall comes to a startling close, it’s important to think about how the knowledge acquired by current-day Beaver seniors can be passed down in a to Juniors; Juniors need to know how to make the most of their fall next year. It is no secret that the senior year workload can become challenging. Twelfth graders need to balance difficult senior classes, athletic responsibilities, standardized testing, and college applications. So, I reached out to current Beaver juniors to address their concerns. In response, current seniors provided their own personal experiences and reflections. 

Abby Burgess ‘21 expressed confusion about when the workload at Beaver is truly at its peak, asking “Which is harder between junior spring and senior fall? [I] heard mixed reviews.” Now, the answer to her question is comprised of many factors, including which four classes the student is taking each respective term as well as non-academic commitments, but two students, Nicole Kelly-Aglio (‘20) and Molly Rosenberg (‘20), shared their differing opinions. 

Rosenberg, who did the majority of her college supplemental essays over the summer, said that “Junior spring was harder for [me] personally because the whole process was so new and overwhelming. By the time senior fall came [I] knew what she was dealing with.” A notable aspect of what made Rosenberg’s fall a smooth transition was her ability to complete some of the outside workloads before the school year started. 

Kelly-Aglio, on the other hand, had a busy summer working in a hospital setting assisting with research papers and only began her supplements once school started while balancing what she called her “hardest classes at Beaver. She said, “senior fall was undoubtedly tougher because I had supplements piling up on top of the hardest classes I have ever taken. I was able to manage by setting myself deadlines and cutting the work into smaller pieces. it was still very hard, and If I could go back I would have tried to tackle some supplements in the summer with the little free time I had.” 

Reflecting on his time, Jacob Calka (‘20), said, “senior fall was much harder because the stakes felt higher and everything felt much closer, but the junior year it still felt so far because we were coming back to Beaver.” Calka’s advice on getting ahead of that senior stress was simple: “don’t procrastinate!” He added, “I mean it’s obvious, but it is so helpful to just get things done even if you go slowly, just avoid putting off test studying and supplements completely.”

Beyond the comparison between junior and senior year, Burgess had questions about social aspects of senior fall, and asked, “how involved should you keep your friends and family in your college process, and is there anything you have to tell people?” 

When consulting the seniors who have had to navigate their way through these issues the past half-year or so, the answers were unanimously positive in the sense that each student believed that it is all up to the individual. 

When asked about the inclusivity of family and friends in her process, Rosenberg said, “ I am just a really open person so I told my friends everything as things were happening but that’s just me, it was what made my process most enjoyable but that doesn’t mean you have to at all.”

Although this approach benefited Rosenberg’s state of mind, Kelly-Aglio had a different one that better fit her personality where she “didn’t really share with any friends and only told her parents what they asked, which worked really well.” She explained that previous seniors who had been very vocal about where they were applying and where they wanted to go had more attention drawn to them throughout the process. By remaining quiet about her decisions there was a higher level of privacy about the process that she felt was important, especially in the case of rejection where, for Kelly Aglio, “attention would have made everything worse.” It seems that any approach to updating your friends and family will be accepted as long as you explain your reasons and stay polite, as it is widely understood that it’s a stressful time and everyone copes differently. 

Although many people enter the process with different approaches as to how many people or who they plan on telling, there are many outside variables that cant be controlled. Especially at Beaver, many students feel very comfortable – maybe too comfortable – asking others where they are applying or if they have heard back from any schools. Although there is no protocol to questioning it is important to remember everyone is under a high level of stress, and responses will not always be satisfactory. No one should ever push anyone to expose pieces of their process they aren’t comfortable, even with little phrases that seem harmless like “why do you care” or “it’s not a big deal.”

Although this past fall has come to a close, this insight remains relevant for all upcoming senior classes. The main takeaways of doing what feels true to you seem to correlate with making your individual process much smoother and shouldn’t be taken with a grain of salt! As beaver alumni, Annie Muggia has said, “everyone ends up loving where they go,” it’s only a matter of time until we get to know where we love!]

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