October- Settling Into Senior Year

Part 2 of 9


Homecoming, early decision deadlines, and the end of October quickly came, allowing seniors to embark on and enjoy a few memorable experiences to begin the year. These opportunities were filled with chances to socialize with friends, classmates, and possibly connect with people you might have known in the past. This year is a perfect time to practice having a balanced routine between school, social life before college. 


The excitement and anticipation for Harriton’s first homecoming filled the school for the past several weeks, but that was not the only moment for which many of us are anxiously preparing. November 1st is a day when students can apply early to a top school of their choice. The college application period is a time filled with uncertainty and hope, making it even more important for each of us to practice mindfulness. This can, according to a 2019 Harvard University study, allow students to regroup their minds and reduce stress. 


The college process is a scary time because once your application is submitted, the fate of your submission rests in the hands of college and university administrators. While it will now be in someone else’s hands, it relieves the stress of having to worry about another obligation. With that being said, make sure you find time to enjoy the present in the midst of this future-focused period in your life. Allowing yourself to have fun is an easy way to practice mindfulness; going out with friends, taking a break from school, making memories that will last long after graduation. 


Should you apply early, when you receive the results of your application, the ability to remain self aware of who you are as a person goes a long way. The only person who knows you best is yourself. If you do not get your first choice, it is important to remember that there is a college for each and every one of us. Sometimes it takes a little longer to find where you thrive as a person and a learner. 


It is not commonly acknowledged that organization is a form of mindfulness. Having an established routine, according to mindfulness experts, plays a significant role in a peaceful mind. For instance, prioritize the essentials, such as studying for an exam or notes from class, before moving onto something that might not require as much focus. While it might take time to adjust to a new routine, organization and planning ultimately help us manage our time so we do not feel overwhelmed. 


The teachers at our school are here to help us succeed and challenge our individual learning styles. Frequently meeting with teachers during lunch and learn allows us to build relationships and gain valuable information that can make the course load seem less daunting. It also gives us a glimpse into office hours that many colleges and universities offer. These times foster our ability to build self advocacy skills with our teachers and mentors who are here to guide us. 


As the year progresses, be aware of who you want to be remembered once high school ends. Learn about yourself and who you actually are when you do not compare yourself to others. While it is easy to be hard on yourself and set expectations for how you want your future to look, do not lose sight of the important things. Live in the moment and do not take the opportunities you are given for granted. When you get stressed out, remember to take moments to reflect and stay mindful of who you are in the midst of external stressors. Remember to stay organized and adopt consistent study skills and routines that can allow you to minimize negative thoughts and distractions. Focus on making positive memories while having fun and enjoying the final year with people you might have known since kindergarten. Senior year does not last forever. It is up to you on how you spend it. 


Words to The Class of 2023: An Interview Series with Teachers and Staff 


Teacher Interview 

Teacher:  Sra Padilla 


Which class(es) do you teach? 


Intermediate Spanish, Spanish 3CP and Spanish 5CP


How many years have you taught or worked at Harriton?


I have taught/worked at Harriton for 12 years. This is my 13th year at Harriton.


What were the best and worst parts of teaching the Class of 2023? 


The best part of working with the Class of 2023 is that this class in particular is very passionate about what it believes in no matter what. The worst part about working with the Class of 2023 is that this class is very passionate about what it believes in no matter what.:) This class is formed by a great group of people. The class of 2023 is a very caring, understanding and well-informed group. I have enjoyed the class of 2023 since their 10th grade year. They are a caring, respectful group that have high expectations of themselves. This year I have the opportunity to teach them again since I taught Spanish 3 2 years ago and now I am teaching some of my students again in Spanish 5.


Do you have any specific memories of the Class of 2023? Classes, projects, 

conversations, or anything else that stands out to you when thinking about the seniors? 


The class of 2023 is the first class that I can remember in my entire career that genuinely goes out of their way to make connections with their past teachers. I see many members of this class going out of their way to “say hello to their favorite teacher” and see how they’re doing. It’s super refreshing and I have never experienced such a big group of students that has been like that at Harriton in my time here as a teacher and as a student.


The Class of 2023 is preparing to embark on the next steps of their journeys, what advice do you have for them? 


Stay true to your beliefs and your values. Look out for yourself, but also don’t let those around you fall without at least trying to lend out a hand. If they don’t want your hand, that’s not a reflection on you, just know you tried to help. Birds of a feather flock together…You are who you surround yourself with. Make good choices and as my grandfather always said, “¡Echa pa’ lante!” aka “Keep moving forward!”


Is there any advice you wish you had received prior to starting college? 


I wish that someone would’ve told me (more than the 10-15 times that I remember being told and I know that that’s a lot, but it just wasn’t enough for me) that I needed to do some financial planning before taking on so much financial responsibility so early in life. I wish that I would have applied to more state schools (less expensive than out of state schools). I also wish that someone would’ve told me that I was only coming out of college with 2 of the 15+ “good” friends that I made while there. It turns out that you only need a couple of good friends and sprinkled with a lot of great acquaintances.


Given the current top song hits, which song reminds you most of the graduating class? 


“Savage Love” by Jason Derulo & Jawsh 685