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I had a laid back, uneventful summer. No big vacations or any of that, just a nice time around San Diego. I enjoyed this, although a little change of pace might have been nice. Activity-wise, I hung out with friends and went to parties and movies (Little Miss Sunshine, Miami Vice, Accepted). I did, however, take a philosophy class at Mesa College, so that (while maybe not the most fun) was interesting. Once the back-to-school crunch calms down, I can say that I am happy to be back in school. School isn't so bad...although I may be singing a different tune when massive essays and tests start rolling around. But, for the time being, it feels nice to be back at school with friends and a few good teachers. Best of all, it feels good to be a big, bad senior.

The day before school started, a friend and I went to Staples and picked up a lot of school supplies. It made a satisfying end to our summer. On a side note, supplies are more expensive than I anticipated; I spent $30.12.

Another exciting, "Oh, God, my summer is over" moment was back-to-school clothes shopping; I spent around $150. On the subject of clothes, the checkerboard Vans slip-ons seem to be the fashion these days; you can't turn around without seeing some kid with a pair on. It's become almost comical. I owned a pair, but I have moved on to a more "mature" tweed pattern.

I do not eat in the cafeteria; I tend to eat in my journalism room or with other friends outside. I usually eat leftovers, sandwiches, and whatever else I can get my hands on.

What I am dreading most about this school year is developing a really serious case of senioritis; that would make a potentially tedious year absolutely unbearable.-- Grant Barba, La Jolla H.S.

My senior year began with many firsts: For the first time, I parked my car in the student parking lot. I park in the last space in the lot in order to protect my car from the students that seem to aim for the vehicles next to them. For the first time I knew where my classes were, and for the first time I did not wear jeans and a sweater on the hottest day of the year. You always know when it is the first day of school because it is blistering hot and the sun taunts you with the best weather of the summer while you are stuck in a classroom going over school rules.

When my alarm goes off in the morning, I growl and sigh, doing everything in my power to keep myself from crawling back under the covers. I start each day with a splash of water and bright lights, motivating myself by counting down the days left until graduation.

"Only 163 days left," I would say, a phrase that is usually followed by "163 days too many." A bowl of Cheerios and a chunk of toothpaste later, and I am hauling my textbooks into my trunk and tossing in my backpack, smashing my lunch.

I wear the same T-shirt and baggy jeans I wore the week before, mainly because the second I buy something that is in style it becomes "so last season." I don't lack a fashion sense, I just lack the funds required to keep one. I do not go to school to focus on fashion; I go to school for an education.

Well, at least I try to. I spend my days in class shaking my feet and staring at the clock in between lectures and exams, counting down the minutes until the bell rings and hitting myself for not taking a period off.

Although it may not be the best year ever, I try to find the good in everything. Tomorrow, I'll only have 162 days left...162 too many.-- Erin Bradley, Rancho Bernardo H.S.

This past summer was the most amazing that I have experienced. In my sandy, beach-worn shoes, I spent hours waiting on concrete for that "perfect spot" at a concert. It never ceases to amaze me how long I can last in the front row of a show because bruises, dehydration, and exhaustion are always part of the price I pay. The rest of the price goes to the ticket, but that goes unnoticed when the artist seems to part the clouds and bless us with their presence. The city wasn't always my escape last summer, and it wasn't all spent at the beach. Nights in the houses of friends were just as amazing. Most of my summer hours were spent in the houses of friends, jamming on instruments, eating, laughing, and sleeping. Those moments matched up to concerts and parties that had been marked on the calendar.

Sooner than expected, I found myself standing on the crisp, clean, green lawn of Mount Miguel High School. The prior year's memories ran through me in a flash: the cafeteria food, the homework, the expectations, the lack of freedom, and waiting for the bus every day. Well, those things don't seem to change much. Lunch "spots" can move anywhere from next to the 400 building to next to a bush. The cafeteria food can hardly be called food. But these factors are all manageable, for there is next summer to look forward to. Only 180 days to go.-- Phylicia Black, Mt. Miguel H.S.

People say junior year is the hardest year of high school, but, man, senior year is sure in the running. It's a lot harder to drag myself out of bed in the morning. It's a lot harder to stay in school all day. What do I do when I leave school early? I nap. But what can I say? I'm tired. I've been doing this high school thing for four years now. That's not to say my classes this year are worthless, but I only get high school credit for three out of my six classes; two are through Mesa College and one is an "office internship" (a waste of time). My three classes at Madison keep me busy, as do the Mesa classes, but for some reason, I am having a hard time falling into a daily routine.

I don't know why I said "for some reason." I know the reason. It's my senior year. "Senioritis" is a real phenomenon, and I'm fighting it. Usually, at the beginning of each school year, I'm extremely organized. I have all my binders for my classes in order. I have notebooks assigned to each class. I know what I'm doing and what assignments are due every day in every class. Yet, this year, I haphazardly throw a few notebooks in my backpack and my main concern is to not forget my keys or my Kashi granola bar.

This has been the hardest back-to-school ever for me. Against my will, I have adopted a nonchalant attitude toward my last year of school. What's hard is having to sit patiently in my seat all year in classes that I don't care about (even if they are interesting) while my mind wanders to where I could be and what I could be doing a year from now.-- Laurel Popplewell, Madison H.S.

Going back to school senior year was the worst. Having spent the summer camping out on the beach, going wakeboarding with friends, and having a good time, the prospect of another year of homework and teachers was disheartening. To add on to injury, seniors have that little nuisance called college applications to look forward to. For me, "senioritis" began the moment my junior year ended. I knew the worst was over. I spent the summer celebrating; although my family didn't go on a vacation, spending the summer in La Jolla was not a poor second choice. Beach during the day, festivities at night...my friends and I kept ourselves entertained throughout the summer.

And then, suddenly, it was September. Being seniors, none of us bought school supplies because we had accumulated so many binders and pens that Staples would be proud. What I did do, however, was shop for clothes. Shopping is my therapy because when I shop, I forget about all other less important things I have to do (such as homework and college applications). Because all I wore over the summer was a bathing suit and miniskirt, I bought a more appropriate wardrobe before the start of the academic year. I made sure to avoid several items whose popularity had diminished their appeal, such as oversized sunglasses and striped shirts.

This year has been difficult for me because I was misled by the assumption that senior year is easy, as grades are insignificant. This is a lie. Not only do colleges look at senior grades, but at classes as well. Consequently, I am currently buried under piles of homework from two AP and two college classes. It has been a nightmare when combined with the approaching application deadlines.

The only beacon of light at the end of a dark and narrow tunnel is the idea of second semester. Once first semester is over and applications are filled out by the end of December, every senior can breathe a sigh of relief. Second semester of senior year really is the time when we can relax academically and enjoy our last year. Second semester is a time of prom, senior pride, and, finally, graduation. It is this bright light that keeps me from hurling myself out of a window each time I begin typing a college essay.-- Jennie Matusova, La Jolla H.S.

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