By: Zuha Jaffar

We’re kings. I’ve been longing to say this since freshman year. And now that it’s here, I don’t know if I’m ready for it. I don’t think any of us are. It’s great to be a senior, don’t get me wrong, despite the fact that this year is far from normal. We don’t get our senior room or senior privileges. We don’t get to even see each other every day. And yet, sometimes it feels really good to be a senior. Walking into school for the first day this year, being greeted by the “2021” balloons, recognizing familiar faces behind masks, soaking in the sunlight that radiates through the atrium ceiling – felt like returning home. I spent a majority of my freshman year wondering if I’d ever see HB in this way. And I am so grateful that I do. 

But still, like every year, there is some uncertainty that comes along with all the good of being a senior. Not only is there a pandemic, but we also are thinking about our futures in a way we never have. The college process forces us to. Perhaps that is what is most daunting about it, not the essays or the transcripts or the tests, but rather the chilling trepidation that seems to cling to you every second. What if I get rejected from my dream school? Will I lose all faith in myself? What if I get accepted? Will all the anxiety just disappear? What if I pursue the things I love, but they all of a sudden change? These thoughts are constantly harassing me. College itself is not a bad thing. But it is the not-knowing that backs you into a corner. We don’t know anything about our future, we don’t know if an acceptance or rejection will be ultimately good, we don’t know what’s coming. The ambiguity of what is to come is the scariest thing we’ll ever deal with, not just for college, but for life. 

There is one weapon however, that proves to be a warm embrace in the midst of a storm, and that is hope. At freshman year orientation, when I wrote my letter to my senior-year-self, I ended it with saying that no matter what happens, “I hope you still have hope.” Don’t worry, I know how awfully cheesy that sounds. But reading it made me emotional. There is a lot that I wanted to do in high school, and most of it, I didn’t do. Not because I was necessarily incapable, but because I changed. My dreams did too. And if the possibility of change, of not getting what is expected is what’s so terrifying about college, shouldn’t I be hopeful that I can get through it again? The not-knowing, maybe is a blessing. For high school, it certainly was. Though the changes that I endured these past three years were painful, they also brought me to where I am now: grateful. I’m a little scared, but I’m still hopeful. I’m lucky to be that way. And I hope that everyone feels that way, no matter what lies ahead. 

I’ve been waiting since freshman year to feel as comfortable as a senior, to be a king. Now that I’m here, I’m realizing that it’s a lot more complicated than that. But if there’s anything these past three years have taught me, it is that life maybe knows what it’s doing. There’s a lot we can’t control. But I do know that all we can do is hope. So, hope. It will bring you everything you want in life.  

(picture by Hiba Daud)