In AP Psychology, I learned about the Kübler-Ross model, more commonly known as the Five Stages of Grief. I flicked my eyes between the slides on the PowerPoint and the scrawls in my notebook. The more I thought about it, the more I recognized these signs in my own life. They all revolved around a common cause: college. So, in light of recent revelations, I bring to you: the Five Stages of Grief as exemplified by a graduating high school senior.
Stage 1: Denial
“This year is flying by, I feel like I was a freshman yesterday!”
In this stage, there is a lot of reminiscing, #tbt posts, and obsessively checking Timehop to get a glimpse into the past. Conveniently “forgetting” to fill out your Common App for three weekends straight falls under this category.
Stage 2: Anger
“I hate this school!”
At some point during one of their real classes, you can hear this exclamation come out of a senior. The stress of maybe three academic classes can seem just too much at times. Not only does schoolwork weigh on you when you have the motivation to do absolutely nothing, but you might be at your wits end with people as well. No matter how hard you try and hide it, your anger with the annoying girl in your Calc class gets harder to cover as the year goes by.
Stage 3: Bargaining
“I swear I’ll never use Sparknotes again if…”
Senior year is praying to anyone that will listen about anything at all. Sending a plea up above that if you can just get an 85 in all your classes, you’ll never show up tardy again probably won’t do much to raise your grade, but it’s the thought that counts. If you’re like me, you’ll be praying to the security guards that nobody realizes you’re parked in faculty because you got to school at 7:29.
Stage 4: Depression
Tears upon tears upon tears. Crying after your last Homecoming. Crying when you realize we only have 3 months left of school. Crying when you tour a future college. Everything is a last, and frankly, it makes everyone a little sad to realize you’ll be doing all these fun things for the last time.
Stage 5: Acceptance
“Can we go dorm shopping?”
At this point, you’ve settled in with the reality that you’re leaving. You might be a little bit nicer to your favorite teacher, or push just a little bit harder in school knowing that your days at East Lyme High School are limited. The prospect of being surrounded by a new school of kids you don’t know is no longer daunting, and hey, maybe it seems a little bit exciting.