12 Steps to 12th Grade


Emma Graig

Editor’s Note: We are re-publishing this popular series for the start of a new school year. This story originally ran in 2015.

  1. First Semester is hard. Like, really hard.

You are going to have to balance college applications and an endless workload. Just remember…you’re graduating this year.

  1. Don’t think that you own a spot in the senior lot.

The chalk means nothing. It’s a war zone out there.

  1. Re: Pep Rally?.participate.

It’s not cool to pretend that you are above enjoying watching the three-legged race. This might be your last pep rally ever! Take advantage of it! The same goes for going to the musicals/plays and any sports games!

  1. Be coy about college.

‘So…where are YOU going next year?! :)))’ Neighbors, friends, family, parents of the kid you babysit, random person you just met, it probably seems like everyone is asking you this. My tip: be as vague as possible in your response and then switch the subject immediately. They mean well but yeah…it’s going to get to be a little much.


  1. Don’t. Talk. About. College. All. The. Time.

You don’t want to be one of those kids, and there are always a few, who has to know where everyone else is applying. CHILL. You’ll hear when they decide where they are going next year, the rest isn’t anyone’s business but their own.


  1. Don’t try to use the same supplements for multiple colleges.

It looks lazy and they can tell. Your essay on your grandma can’t work for that question on “your greatest achievement”…..trust me, I’ve tried.


  1. Avoid the alcoves.

The senior alcove is gross and uncomfortable. I’ll just leave that there.


  1. Learn to accept rejection

Rejection is a part of life. And it is about to be coming at you at a rapid pace. Don’t get caught up in the rejections and remember, as cliche as this sounds, it was for the best. It means you and that college went on a first date and it didn’t work out, but you have PLENTY of other interested boys/girls who you click perfectly with. Thank me for the pep talk later.


  1. Learn to navigate the waters of a College Facebook group.

COLLEGE FACEBOOK GROUPS ARE FILLED WITH UNDESIRABLE PEOPLE. The girls who want a ‘gym buddy’ and the ‘Netflix lovers’ and ‘quirky artsy’ students aren’t a good representation of your school. Don’t worry, they just post the most. Also, if you decide to post in one of the roommate searches, HAVE AN OPINION ON SOMETHING. Don’t say you ‘like to go out but also stay in’ or that you like ‘all types of music’….that’s not helpful. Being considerate isn’t going to find you a good roommate, it might just find you a wishy-washy person with no opinions.


  1. Sit down and have a chat with some of your favorite teachers.

You’ll see that the wall between the learn-ed and the learn-er breaks down more and more throughout the year. You probably won’t be able to have as close relationships as these as a freshman in college so take advantage of it! You won’t be able to see Mrs. Chincheck’s endless sweater collection or Mr. Ferentinos’ slide projector next year.



…And can be fatal when mixed with a second semester that really doesn’t get much easier. I repeat: second semester doesn’t get easier. Don’t kill yourself over studying for tests, but at the same time, don’t completely lose interest. You owe it to the teachers who had to deal with you throughout the fall semester.


  1. Enjoy Senior year with your pals.

This might be easier for some of you than others but really, take it all in. Even for those of you who are counting down the days until you can leave the ‘Little City’ in the dust, nostalgia will hit you like a freight train. Embrace it.