As college approaches, so does senior independence


Ella Dame

A senior appreciation banner hangs outside the Lane parking lot as graduation approaches on June 17.

By Ella Dame, Managing Editor

Class curriculums begin to come to their close, AP tests arrive, finals season approaches, and for seniors graduation is on the horizon. Ana Young, Div. 160, is a senior who is looking forward to graduation yet has acknowledged that it will be an end of the year event like no other as COVID-19 has altered the way it’s happening. Young looks forward to the relief of school coming to a close, but COVID-19 has put her in a place she, along with many seniors, didn’t expect to be in. 

By the time the class of 2021 graduates, the pandemic will have been around for 15 months and many students will have spent their senior year social distancing or at-home, in accordance with Chicago and CDC regulations. While this year has been mostly virtual, many colleges will be allowing students to begin next fall in-person

The shift from being at home for such a long period of time to being able to attend college in-person could be difficult due to a decrease in independence within the past school year, according to the University of Alabama- Birmingham News.

Young expressed an underwhelming tone as graduation approaches after having such a taxing and stressful year.

I feel prepared in the sense that I have been challenged in school and my relationships with others, but I still don’t think I’m exactly where I envisioned I would be now that this time is coming around,” Young said.

While this newer sense of independence quickly approaches for some seniors, it can be a subject that produces more excitement than anxiety.

I am most anticipating being more independent and learning how to live on my own,” Young said. “I will be going to college out of state in a place that is nearly 800 miles away, so I think it’ll be pretty cool. My parents can’t just drive over and stop in unexpectedly all the time.”

Senior May Grace Hyde, Div. 184, said she didn’t fully feel prepared to go to the out of state college she committed to, which she indicated was possibly related to COVID-19.

While not every senior expressed that their feelings of preparedness were directly related to COVID-19, Hyde feels that everyone’s been impacted by it in some capacity.

I think that all seniors, whether they realize it or not, have been affected by COVID — it could have been admissions or it could have been mental/emotional health but yes, I think everyone,” Hyde said in an email interview with The Champion.

While some seniors agree that COVID-19 affected them as students negatively, some said it impacted them in a positive way. Hyde explained that she’s always been focused on being very independent, but the pandemic has allowed her to see through some positive dependence.

“I think that with COVID I’ve had to become a little more dependent on my friends/family to keep me from overworking myself due to my anxiety or from procrastinating due to depression,” Hyde said.

With graduation officially happening in-person at Soldier Field, seniors will be provided with a concrete event to transition from this period of dependence or just being a high schooler, to becoming a graduate and for many, an incoming college student.

Lane’s principal, Brian Tennison, recognizes that the coming months will be an uncertain transitional time for some.

“Transitions can produce anxiety. Lean on your family and friends and know that you are special. You can meet the challenges that will come your way, please have confidence in yourself,” Tennison said in an email interview with The Champion.

This year is like no other in many ways due to virtual learning, college season and senior events, but similar to many past years it creates a setting for many different emotions for seniors. Tennison was no stranger to these emotions during his own first year at college. 

“I felt great excitement and uncertainty as to what to expect. In my first year I realized that I had an opportunity to take classes because I was interested in learning about the subject and not just because I had to,” Tennison said.

All of the build up of work, stress and emotions will be coming to a final close for seniors in the month of June as graduation approaches. The future of many seniors may be different, but the experience of graduating will provide all with a transitional moment.

Young considers the overall positivity and excitement of getting to attend college and starting this next chapter. 

I’m thrilled to attend the school that I committed to and I think that this summer is truly going to be a time for me to work on becoming the best version of myself again,” Young said. “I’m not nervous or scared that graduation is coming because it honestly feels relieving not to have to worry about high school and the stress that came with it anymore.”