Parting Words 2018

The Uproar’s senior staff offers their advice to the junior class

Anya: A lot of people, including us, are going to tell you a lot of things. Some advice will be useful, like don’t procrastinate or do apply early to colleges. Some advice will be hard to follow, like don’t take high school so seriously or do find time in your crowded schedule to relax. Whatever the advice is, it’s given retrospectively. We have the benefit of time and experience. We know what we would have done in hindsight, but when you’re actually going through the motions, it’s not as simple as we may put it. There are certain blinders that come with being in high school. It feels as though everything simultaneously is and is not as important as everyone says it is. Your senior year is a step towards the future, but you are still stuck in the same place as you have been for eleven years. Senior year is a very strange, unnerving time that feels like purgatory but dictates the rest of your life. Our sage wisdom won’t fix that. It’s not always easy. It won’t always be fun. Your experience won’t be like ours because everyone has a different experience in high school. My best advice is this: don’t listen to us. I mean it. Don’t take our words as literally as you think. Listen to yourself. If you know what you want, then do that. It might not be the right choice; not every decision you make will end up in your favor. Learning how to deal with the consequences of your actions is part of growing up, more than getting your license or getting a summer job. You won’t completely grow up this year, but a little goes a long way. Take responsibility. Everything else is up to you.

Madde: Now I’m sure many of you already have your colleges picked and you are ready to apply, get in, and get going. But my advice to you is this: make sure you are picking the college for the right reasons. It is so easy to get swept up in the competition and numbers game of North Allegheny. The truth is, as long as you work hard and make yourself known to people, it doesn’t really matter where you go to college. You’re not “a nobody” if you don’t go to an ivy league. The only reason that you should apply to an ivy league is the only reason why you should apply to any college: it is the best fit for you. My other advice is do yourself a favor! Don’t procrastinate!!! Getting your applications done and sent out early not only gives you an advantage for some colleges, but it also feels great knowing you don’t have to stress about deadlines. I started early on my applications, and I knew that I was accepted into my college of choice by December–and some of my friends hadn’t even started applying. I know it’s so easy to put it off, but trust me: you will feel so much better getting it out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of your senior year. My final advice is, if you have the opportunity to do an overnight stay at a college of your choice, do it. College tours are a heavily rehearsed dialogue of things you want to hear, but seeing what the college looks like after hours can give you a really good indication of the environment and whether it’s the right fit for you. This is my advice to you, future seniors. I hope it serves you well in the future.

Margo: Give yourself a senior year that makes you at least a little bit sad to graduate. Senior year is hallmarked by overglorified apathy towards essentially everything. From academics to friendships, the “senior-way” is to ultimately stop caring. Maybe that’s because we know we will be leaving all of this behind in a few short months, and the less we care about high school, the easier it is to wave goodbye. Don’t settle for this cheap facade of maturity. Though you may save yourself from a twinge of nostalgia at graduation, cowardly “checking out” and burning bridges during the year will not make you a winner. Senior year goes fast. Be intentional about how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Who your true friends are tends to sift out during senior year. Prioritize those few. Prioritize whatever is most important to you — academics, friends, sports, family, etc. — and be all in. Give meaning to your activities and your relationships by not spreading yourself too thinly. Your time and energy are too limited senior year to lack intentionality. So instead of throwing in the towel and erasing the previous 12 years of hard work in your academics, activities, and relationships, use senior year to let these flourish. Finish strong. End on good terms with your teachers and peers, and don’t forget to say “thank you” to those who have been there for you through it all. You may be sad come graduation, as a stellar year draws to a close, but sadness is surely superior to regret.

Zach: The most useful advice that I can think to offer to underclassmen comes from Rudyard Kipling’s poem If: If you can follow Kipling’s advice and “keep your head about you” in the face of any challenge during your time at North Allegheny, you will be on a successful path. Entering my senior year, the concern about college applications, test scores, and the admissions process as a whole was unreal. And yet, despite this pressure, I believe my ability to turn to outlets of healthy stress relief were extremely beneficial in keeping the process under control. Being able to turn to sports, music, or any other activity that can give you joy and allow you to reset your focus of attention is something I couldn’t recommend in higher esteem. Separating yourself, albeit momentarily, from the societal frenziness in order to think clearly with your feet on the ground is necessary to keep a clean state of mind and make decisions that will most benefit you. I suppose the other most important piece of advice to give to seniors is to be excited about all of the opportunities you have available. Every college has unique opportunities to pursue your interests in some way, shape, or form. And regardless of where you end up you will have opportunities to show that college how willing you are to have fun, excel in the environment, and take advantage of those opportunities. Current juniors – be excited! College is just over a year away, so make the most of your time at NA and finish properly so you can maximise the opportunities coming your way.

Lea: Senior year is a time of growth and anticipation. You are reflecting on your thirteen years of schooling, that are now coming to a close, amidst preparing for a future that you really do not know what entails. It can be a confusing and daunting time. You do not exactly feel like a child anymore, but the word adult sometimes seems a little too mature for what you are. So what are you? You are not just a high school senior, you are a child growing up, into what you do not know yet. But that is what is so exciting, the future is purely unpredictable. And that future, your future, can be molded directly by you now, into whatever you want. You get to choose, and although choosing can be intimidating, appreciate it. Appreciate the freedom that comes with the responsibility of making choices and acknowledge that the choices you make, and the choices you do not make, do not have to be perfect, nor set in stone. Everything is malleable and everything can change. Never fear that change, never fear growing up, and most importantly, never fear the future. Because for once, in your eighteen years of living, you are legally in charge of your own life. No matter what your parents, teachers, friends, enemies, what have you, say you, and you alone, are ultimately the person who has to make the decisions now. So embrace it and love every second of it, the good, the bad, and, especially, the inbetweens.

Stefan: Senior year is a transition period. It is a time to both anticipate college next year and reminisce on your past years as a student at North Allegheny. Your first semester will definitely be a challenge. Make sure to keep your grades up and put a lot of time into your college applications. When choosing colleges to apply to, make sure to find schools that have programs that fit your interests and feel right to you.Make sure to also apply to schools in your safety, target, and reach ranges. Then all you have to do is hope. The admission process can suck, but make sure to do as much as you can to do to help yourself. Second semester, you will start hearing back from schools. After hearing back from all of my schools, I had to make the hardest decision I’ve made so far in my life. I was stuck between Boston University, Northeastern University, and the University of Pittsburgh. I ended up choosing Pitt, because I was accepted into the honors college, I was guaranteed into graduate school, and I received a generous scholarship. Although BU and Northeastern were higher ranked schools, Pitt offered a better program and gave me a better financial aid package. I went with the money and the program, and I encourage you to do likewise. Don’t worry about what people will think about what school you go to. People like to be petty and brag about their admissions, and in all reality, it doesn’t really matter. If you work hard, you’ll get a good job. I’d personally rather leave school debt free then have an undergraduate degree in a more prestigious university. Remember, you still have grad school. Also, when choosing what university you would like to attend, try and reach out to see if you fit into the school. Join facebook groups, follow people on social media, and look around for roommates. After you have been accepted and have chosen your college, try and keep on studying for your AP classes until the AP tests. After the tests, you’re done with high school. Enjoy the last few weeks of school as much as possible. Enjoy life, hang out with your friends, and sleep. You deserve it! In conclusion, it is important to work hard your first semester and relax the second semester. Don’t be afraid to get a few B’s and even a C. You’re a senior. Have fun and good luck next year. North Allegheny is a great school, so enjoy your last year!

Amber: As a notorious try hard, senior year could have been a lot easier than I made it out to be. You don’t need straight A’s to graduate, and I wish someone would have nailed that into my brain before this year began. A failing grade on a test every now and then is not going to define who you are in the future. Take some time to yourself and spend nights out with your friends. The only thing you will regret is studying too hard and working every night of the week. I can honestly say this because I have one too many regrets about how I spent my senior year. I turned down once in a lifetime opportunities because I was scheduled to work or I had to study for an exam. The grade is not worth the sacrifices you have to make to get them. High school only lasts for four years, so you have to enjoy it while you still can. Now that it is coming to an end, I wish I could build a time machine and go back in time. Don’t take these years for granted. On the other hand, don’t have extremely high expectations of how extraordinary your senior year will be. Yes, Senioritis exists, and yes, you will catch it. But don’t throw away all of the hard work you’ve done for the past 12 years for a few late night parties that mess up with your study schedule. Also, don’t let yourself get caught up into much drama. After your senior year, the chances of you seeing these people again are very low. There is a world that exists outside of the Wexford Bubble, so don’t be afraid to explore it.

Nick-  Relax and enjoy the meme that is senior year–the good memes and bad memes.  Don’t take it too seriously because that’s unnecessary. Apply to colleges as soon as possible just to get that done–it’s all that academically matters senior year.  I wanted to go to Pitt, so I applied to Pitt the first month of school, was accepted weeks later, so I just chilled the rest of the year. I worked hard the last few years so I let go a little bit, but not too much.  So go out with your friends have some fun and make some good memories. Over time, you will remember the good times and not the bad times in high school and in life. We live in a high pressure world and school and this is the year you worked for so just relax.  I really learned a lot senior year about myself, and how people act in certain situations. I observed through my experiences and through other friends, that you find out who your true, loyal friends are–and all you really need is a few great ones. My other piece of advice is to just do what you love.  Life is too short to do something for monetary gains or because everybody else is doing it.  I have loved woodworking for years and I really pushed myself in that field in this year, building instruments and other crazy creations.  If you love music, pursue it, if you love sports, pursue it, if you like the trades, go after it. Not everything you find in NA or in life is meant for everybody, so you do you, whoever you are.  Remember we are all just statistics, an ID number, a part of the machine–so might as well enjoy the ride and look forward to the next meme- of the machine.

Julia: Don’t fear the unknown. You’ll feel a whirlwind of emotions senior year, but do not be fearful of the future. I’d tell you to find what you love and pursue that, but the truth is, not a lot of juniors/seniors know what they’re passionate about. If you do, that’s amazing; if not, that’s perfectly fine. During your long, boring, thrilling and emotional senior year, people will keep providing you the same advice and eventually it all blends together. And this doesn’t include all of the family members and friends asking you if you’ve finally made a decision. Meeting your family’s, friends, societal, and academic expectations is hard to balance out (especially with senioritis) so stop caring what others think and drown out everyone (not completely) and listen to your gut. You know right from wrong so don’t make things complicated. If college isn’t for you, don’t go. Seriously. Your career might not need a degree. Planning your future is exciting yet daunting. You probably have no idea what you’re doing and neither does anyone else (and everyone expects you to), so take a deep breath. I promise everything will work out in the end. Your senior year is what you make of it. There will be a lot of ‘lasts’ this year. Be here now and don’t wish away senior year. Smile at the memories you’ve made the past three years but do not stay hung up on them. The school day will drag at times and others will go by in a flash. Stay grounded, have some fun, and walk into the future with no fear. Time goes on and you must too.

Sofia: Sit down. Take a deep breath. It’ll be alright. Everyone will tell you not to stress over this year, but I know firsthand that unless you actually take that advice to heart your year will be just harsh as the previous ones. You have worked since Kindergarten or first grade; have some faith in yourself. You’ve gotten this far, and you will get through this year. You will get into a college that you like, you will get the grades that you need, and senior year can be fun, but you must give it a chance to be. Go out on the weekends with friends or family, and skip a homework assignment every once in a while if you need to. Your mental health is far more important than your grades, and anyone who says differently does not understand what senior year in the twentieth century can be like for those of us who have taken our studies seriously so far. Make your final year one that you can look back on with a smile as you recall all of the wonderful memories that you and your friends and your teachers helped you create. Find at least one teacher, past or present, that you can be yourself around, and make sure to talk about whatever comes to mind; trust me, they’ll appreciate it more than you know. You will find that college essay topic that you can roll with, so don’t stress over it! If you don’t enjoy writing the essay, your audience will likely not enjoy reading it. Just remember to stay calm and don’t forget to smile.

Kaycee Orwig:  Everyone’s’ senior year is different. Some schedule all blow off classes to have the classic easy senior year. However, others, like me, schedule the hardest year of high school they have ever had. Senior year proved extremely difficult for me primarily due to AP Calculus. Whether your year is difficult or easier than ever, give yourself time to do the things you love. My passion is photography and despite my intense year of calculus and anatomy, I left myself time to pursue my passion. In the midst of math, essays, etc, I worked at the Franklin Inn two to three days a week, took photos for the newspaper and yearbook, further developed my own photography business, and trained for a half marathon. This may seem like a lot, but the key is to let go of your grade obsession and live a little. Keep control of your grades but take your senior year to figure out what you love. Furthermore, the following year, you will go off to college and leave behind many friends that you have grown up with. Spend time with them because it’s possible that you don’t have much more time with them. In Junior year, I neglected to be social because I was absolutely obsessed with getting straight A’s. What is nice about senior year is that you can slack off a little after you get accepted into college. Don’t take it for granted!

Josie: While I encourage you to work hard at the beginning of the year so you can have an easier end of the year, and suggest getting ahead on college applications, what I want you to take with you the most is the concept of forgiveness. Forgiveness is key. During your final year of high school, I urge you not to hold grudges against others. Things that happened in the past, are happening in the present, and will happen during your senior year do not have as big of an effect on your life as you may think. In another year, it will be over and more than likely, fellow classmates will be out of reach. Forgiving and accepting allows new relations to begin, some being friendships you thought were least likely to form. Forgiving allows for a heavy weight to be lifted off your shoulders, and will let you leave high school with no grudges and a satisfying feeling. I also advise you to get involved. Do not join things to put on a college resume, join things that you love to do. Clubs, organizations, and sports lead to new opportunities. You will participate in something you are passionate about while meeting others who share an equal passion. This will present you with new people you may not have gotten to know otherwise. Try something new and put yourself out there. Figure out your interests sooner than later, and you may surprise yourself with a new hobby or skill! Make the most of your senior year. Make a year that you can look back on with no regrets. As much as it is cliche, it is true. Walk through senior year with high standards and your head held high. Be proud of what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish, but remember it is okay to let loose sometimes.

Joe:  As a graduating senior who has spent fourteen long years at North Allegheny (preschool through 12th grade) I am disappointed to tell you that senior year is no “light at the end of the tunnel”. Frankly, it sucks as much as any other year. The only difference is that, now, your bored and unstimulated mind will find new things within these white walls to get ticked off about. Those water fountains you never noticed before? Now, they seem permanently broken and it tears you up inside. Entering the 12th grade is like becoming a crotchety senior citizen without physical problems like “the gout” or “the shingles”. Instead, you will be plagued by a special feeling of anxiety that the “North Allegheny School District Page Block” message will display every time you click on a website in the real world. And while you may view college as a way to leave good ole Wexford behind forever, rest assured this bustling center of culture and society will always be able to force its way back into your life. As you join group chats to make some perspective college friends, at least one jerk is guaranteed to remind you, “OMG! We went to NA together!” Because getting away from NA is not an option, my advice as a senior is to be happy where you are. As much as you may hate it here, make your years count because there will never be a more carefree time in your life than when you were in high school.

Pavle: Don’t take yourself, or anything really too seriously. You’ve worked hard for so many years and senior year is really just a victory lap, don’t sweat yourself sprinting around it while you could be enjoying your time instead. You might look around, at NASH, your friends, your peers and have a slight sense of regret, but for what? It’s too late to change anything — don’t slack off too much, because that could change it for the worse — but for 90% of things, what’s done is done. As college acceptances start rolling in and you race home to login to your email or check your mailbox, you might expect one of two feelings: extreme happiness or extreme sadness; yet there’s a feeling that no one really warns you about: apathy. I found myself looking at that rejection or acceptance and acknowledging it but then kind of just moving on. My parents, teachers, friends almost seemed to care more in some instances. My advice is to take your time, read up on everything about your options, visit the school, but most importantly try and find someone attending and have a real conversation about their experience. Ask all your friends to see if they have siblings, ask your teachers if they know a student at that school and if you get their email, or even approach someone on your visit if they have a minute for a few questions. Circling back to the beginning, senior year will be okay. You’ll get senioritis, you’ll meet people you wish you met 12 years ago, you’ll realize why you you were friends with others for the past 12 years, you’ll have fun, you’ll get stressed; it’s going to be okay. As a wise man once told me, “Bad things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people, good things happen good people, and good things happen to good people”; regardless of where you stand, it’ll all work out in the end.

Gabrielle: Dear incoming seniors: I hardly feel qualified to being doling out advice at the ripe old age of 17, but here goes. First of all, START ON YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATIONS BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS. I am well aware that this is the last thing you would want to be doing during your last summer vacation. However, waiting until school starts again will present you with a dual conundrum: having to keep up your senior year grades and juggle essays. Second, enjoy it. Your particular year has a propensity towards academic intensity, which will ultimately land you into the college of your dreams, but remember to breathe once in a while and take it all in when you still can- it will be over before you know it. Lastly, spend time with those who will help you reach your goals in the long run. I would not have been able to reach where I am today without the help of my family, my friends, and some pretty awesome teachers.





Davis: Juniors, you are preparing to go into your final year of high school and I’m sure you are thinking you have survived the worst of it…think again! Senior year, particularly the first semester, brings challenges unlike you have experienced. College applications, changing social circles, and the dreaded senioritis are just a few of the obstacles in your path to graduation. But fret not! There are a few tips and tricks to help you get through the year the best you can. The first piece of advice I can give you is something that every senior told me when I was a Junior: finish your college applications in the summer before school! I cannot stress how crucial that is to your time-management, overall level of stress, and peace of mind. I completed my applications within the first week of school and I felt carefree as my peers scrambled to finish theirs at 11:59 the night they were due; get them done early! Another key to successfully surviving the year is to kill your mid-year transcript. Work as hard as you possibly can, even double what you normally would, so you can one, set yourself for the inevitable decline of the second semester, and two, it will impress your colleges that require you to submit one. Finally, make sure to enjoy yourself! Once you get in a college, high school is practically a thing of the past, so think about the future and enjoy the present as much as possible; it won’t be around forever.

Richard: Dear class of 2019: As our time as seniors comes to an end, yours is about to begin. It’s your turn to feel old, stress over college applications, and then lose all motivation to the crippling disease that is senioritis. However, don’t fret. Instead, take heart that your hardest year is probably behind you. Senior year is a cumulation of your efforts from the moment you started elementary school until now. The workload itself is manageable, there’s no standardized tests to be studying for, and the truth is, what you do starting in August is not going to have significant bearing on your college decisions relative to the past 4 years. I don’t think there’s much that I know that any of you won’t at this point, but here is what I do think is useful to keep in mind: Senior year is all about yourself and your character. Grades and scores and numbers are set, but you’ll be going over draft after draft of essays and personal statements. Take this time to do something meaningful to yourself, not just to college applications. This summer is probably your last chance to do something special to define yourself and set yourself apart. However, the entirety of senior year should be about character and relationship building. You have the knowledge and skills to succeed in colleges already. What you’ll need is the mindset and maturity to live independently and motivate yourself. Aside from that, you’ll either rarely if ever see most of your high school friends again after this coming year, or you guys will likely be friends for life. Either way, I think spending extra time with them is justified over panicking over your 2nd semester grades and such. Balance yourself! There’s more to life than just school, and you’ll be finding out a lot about that this year. I sincerely wish you guys the best going forward.