5 ways to make Senior Year count

Third Culture Kids (TCKs)—those raised in a culture other than their parents’ culture, or outside of their passport country—are not unfamiliar with difficult transitions. From an early age, they become accustomed to change as they are exposed to various cultural influences that sometimes leave them feeling as though they are citizens of everywhere and nowhere.

Some might argue that TCKs, with their tendency to adapt to their surroundings, are better equipped than the average student to handle the transition of senior year to post-graduation plans. But that doesn’t mean senior year doesn’t present its own set of challenges.  

From one senior TCK to another, here are 5 ways to make senior year count at Dakar Academy.

 Things to do in Dakar: enjoy a beach day with friends.

Don’t stress the small stuff.

While finishing high school well is crucial, don’t keep yourself from living your senior year to its fullest. By over-stressing homework and assignments, you close off opportunities to make great memories with people around you. Agree to stay up late making attaya on weekends. Go with friends to grab an early morning breakfast at Mawa’s. Pretend to be a crazy tourist for a day and go on a photography scavenger hunt of Dakar.

It’s important to keep a balanced life and set boundaries for yourself. Grades matter, but so do simple yet meaningful moments with friends. Be present and be open to making memories.

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But… stress some stuff.

Senioritis—a condition that affects seniors globally, with the most common symptoms including excessive lethargy, lack of motivation, and extreme procrastination. Many describe the sensation as feeling I’m almost done with high school, why keep trying?

“Senioritis is just a socially acceptable term for laziness,” says Mrs. Deb Aisenbrey, guidance counselor. Avoid senioritis by remembering how hard you have worked for 12 years… you don’t want to throw it all away in less than 10 months!

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Stay invested in people.

With 34 countries represented on DA’s campus, students spread out and go in every direction post-graduation. Some TCKs cope with this knowledge by controlling how much they invest in people, instead thinking if I’m leaving soon, why should I care or even bother? But living with this mindset can cause you to lose out on precious interactions with people who have fascinating lives and backgrounds. While it’s normal and healthy to crave the excitement that post-graduation plans hold, don’t allow yourself to detach before the right time has come. Continue to pour into people’s lives and allow people to invest in you. Let your relationships senior year be mutually beneficial in building community.

 Joanna F. and Kaley L. play two out of the three Boylan sisters in the 2018 spring musical, Annie.

It’s not too late to try new things.

Whether you have been at DA for two years or ten, there are things to see and discover in Dakar. Senior year gives you the chance to say yes! to cliff jumping at Phare Beach, getting dessert with friends at Simone’s Cafe or spending a day at Lac Rose. Stay in the moment—when are you going to be here in this place with these exact people again?—and treasure opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone.

I used to be terrified of performing in front of other people, but during my junior year I decided I would stop running away from uncomfortable experiences and auditioned for the Fall Play and Spring Musical. Before, I would use the excuse, “oh, I’ll do it next year.” Stop saying no to this year and try saying yes!

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Keep your post-graduation goal in mind.

Whether you are going to college, university, trade school or taking a gap year, keep your post-graduation goal in mind. In the midst of the school year, during a hard project or study session, it’s easy to stress out and lose sight of the big picture. Take time to re-focus and remind yourself why you’ve worked so hard, and what’s next? Having a goal will keep you motivated and give you perspective as you push through those last assignments.

Congratulations Class of 2019, you made it! (Almost).

Published by contributing student writer Kaley Logerstedt.