So You’re a Junior?

Tips to survive junior year

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Abigail Guadnola, Photo Editor and Design Consultant

Dear Class of 2018,

So you’re a junior now? Well congratulations! You’ve made it half way through high school, and now you get the “privileges” of being an upperclassmen. Those privileges being sitting on the nice bleachers and, in contrast to sophomore year, actually being slightly important in the building.

Now, don’t let this next paragraph destroy your pride in finishing half of high school, but I have got to give you the flashing red lights and caution tape that I never got. The “turn around now before you drown in a pile of tear soaked homework and insanity.” You think I’m joking, if only…

Junior year will push you down, throw rocks at you and kick you in the gut until you cry. This year is the last year you have before applying to colleges, you take the ACT and, for some of you, you are also taking AP classes and tests. It may seem like nothing or  it may seem like a gigantic boulder over your head waiting to crush you. Either way, this next part is important so imprint it into your mind before this fall.

Here is my advice, the lessons I’ve learned, things I wish I had been told; a cliché soap box talk.

  1. Do not overload yourself. This is not the year to join a rigorous sport, club or show.
  2. Instead of adventuring off campus, find a spot in the library and get as much done as possible. Ask for help. You have got to communicate and speak up for yourself.
  3. Crying is okay, you will probably have at least five breakdowns throughout the year. And that is at a minimum, the reality is around five each semester for each class… probably more, just ask my Algebra 2 teacher… it was bad.
  4. Go to prom. Seriously, it is so fun, even if you don’t have a date. Find a group and still come because you will have a blast. Girls, wear comfortable shoes, no joke… don’t wear your stilettos.
  5. Take time for yourself, but always make sure to get your work done.
  6. “Control what you can control.” A teacher of mine said that to me at least once a week (hint: it’s the same teacher who watched me have about 100 breakdowns), if not more and it is so incredibly wise and true. There will be days where you are so discouraged by that last test score or the issues going on in your life but at the end of the day, worrying about it will not do a thing for you.
  7. Laugh! Laugh at yourself, laugh when you stay up until three in the morning writing an essay or working on a project and can not speak clearly at all. Laugh when your AP Lang teacher walks from his computer to the desk five times because he is just as tired as you and can not remember what he was doing. Laugh when your Algebra 2 class forgets what parenthesis are and dub them “curvy lines.”
  8. Ice cream therapy is a thing. End of story, there is no debate, it is absolutely a thing and there is no shame in it.
  9. Do not waste gas. No joke, it is so expensive, it’s not even funny. Actually, in that regard, just save money, your parents will begin to get on your case because “college is coming up, are you saving anything?” “Do you have any plan for saving?” “When are you going to start thinking about college and saving? It’s just around the corner.”
  10. Even when you’re having a hard time, dress for success. Now I’m not saying suit up and wear tie or a blouse and skirt, but I am saying to dress the way you want to feel. It may seem a bit odd but I promise your sweats will be waiting for you when you get home. Dress like there is nothing wrong and it will begin to feel that way.
  11. Just turn in the homework. I’ll bet most of you know this by now, but your best route to success is to turn in the homework, even if you suck at tests, just do the homework.
  12. Prioritize. I hated my teachers saying this to me but it’s really the best way to go. There will be nights that you have to chose between a huge Western Civ test or writing an essay. It’s not the end of the world if one doesn’t get done.You will survive.
  13. It’s going to be okay. I promise you. “In the end it will be okay, if it isn’t okay, it isn’t the end.” Pretty sure John Lennon said that, though not even the internet is sure.
  14. It is just high school. I promise you that in five, ten, twenty, thirty years none of this will matter. Your c in English or straight a’s will not matter, regardless of your grades and test scores, you will go on and have a life after high school. I promise.
  15. We have your back, the seniors, we have your back. We know how hard junior year is and we know how hard it can be to deal with the things you should never have to deal with. If you need anything ever please ask us. As I said, we know how hard life can be, we’ve seen more than we should have at our age, and it has taught us to take care of each other.
  16. Don’t wish it all away. Perhaps my biggest regret this year is not taking any of my own advice but especially this last one. You will find yourself absolutely abhorring the thought of waking up the next morning and continuing junior year, but never wish the time away. Value the time you have and make the most of it. This is all so cliché but perhaps cliches become cliches because of how true they are. As I said, laugh, cherish the moments you have, find joy in the small things. Smile seeing the freshman coming in wide eyed and slightly frightened, remember when you were them. Smile seeing your friends and teachers, you only have two more years with them, and it goes quick. And always remember to say thank you. (To my teachers this year, thank you so much. You were fantastic.)

 

It’s going to be a long haul, but you aren’t alone. You are going to make some fantastic memories. So I repeat, congratulations, you’re an upperclassmen, you’re halfway there.

 

Class of 2018, I believe in you. We [class of 2017] believe in you.

 

Sincerely,
Abigail Guadnola and the class of 2017