Most likely to punch you in the face

Kate Marinkovich, Author

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Why are senior polls stressful? Many would answer that it is the self-advocacy that various seniors commit in attempt to win a category such as Most Desirable. It’s not.

I have heard constant complaints about potential nominees who are going above and beyond to make sure they win at least a nomination. Poppycock. Give me an example of someone who is, and then maybe I will reconsider.

A subtle promotion here or there, maybe a profile photo change on Facebook, is not obnoxious. Sometimes it’s actually helpful; it’s easy to forget who’s good at what and it helps you avoid the common error of writing your friends down as nominations in every category. Sure, self-advocacy can reach an extreme that makes everyone not want to vote for the advocator, but it’s rare and usually only happens with those in the running for Biggest Ego. And in that case it makes sense.

No, a majority of what makes senior polls stressful are the people who advocate for others.

What drives everybody to stress the unstressful is when someone sits in the center of the lunch table and demands everybody to vote her for this and him for that because they think they are in charge of what every student should think about each other.

Spoiler alert: You’re allowed to have your own opinions!

There are no predesignated winners of senior polls. Sure, someone may be more suited for a category than another, but that’s not up to one person to decide. Besides, what’s the point of putting these down in concrete so early? We still have a whole other round; these are just the nominations.

The pressures to vote a specific person for each category create a situation that is dreadful. You disagree with what is supposedly the “common vote,” but how can you vote against it when there is someone reading behind your shoulder as you fill out the packet?

Senior polls are meant to be representative of what every student in the senior class thinks, not just one.

Next to the crazy, controlling classmates, what additionally makes senior polls stressful is the gossip that comes along with them.

Senior polls give everybody an excuse to do the taboo. With every senior poll category comes a list of people who should win it, and the reasons why. For about 50 percent of these categories, the reasons why are negative.

Feelings are hurt, memories that are meant to be forgotten resurface, and that one bad thing you did freshman year turns into the reason why your senior class will remember you the way they do. Remember that one time you took your shirt off on Instagram?

These two factors combined create an aura around senior polls that take out all the fun. Think about why we even have senior polls. Are they meant to stress you out and hurt your feelings? No. They are meant to be a fun way to remember your senior class in twenty years.

I propose a solution. One I believe will solve the stress of senior polls:

Fill out your own packet. At home.

Let go of the pressures your friends are burying you in, keep the discussions to a minimum, and in two steps you eliminate the stress factors I previously discussed.

Now I know it will be hard. We’re all a little self-obsessed and a little part of us deep down inside loves the drama that is sparked by senior polls. Have a little faith and care a little less. You will have a lot more fun.

So gear up and get ready, seniors: Round two will be here before you know it.