Summer has been a great time for reflection on this past year. Junior year is notoriously known for being the year of work. It’s the year of strenuous testing, loads of APs, college tours….the list goes on and on. And, this year was definitely a real struggle for me. Personally, I had a lot going on but school was also trial after trial. BUT…so many great things happened as well. I got my letterman jacket, spent my first year as a clarinet drill instructor, made honor band for the second time, reconnected with some old friends, and I learned a lot about who I am as well as what I want to do in the future. I am so happy I get to share this with y’all!
** Course Load **
I have always done AP and PreAP classes since I was younger, especially English. Once people reach high school, particularly the end, they tend to pile tons of these classes on top of themselves in hope of adding to their GPA or rank. However, as school has gone on, I have realized that piling all of these classes on myself is only adding stress to my already busy life. I originally had two AP classes in addition to my band, art, and my other core classes. Not even halfway into the first semester (peak marching season) my grades started suffering in a few of my classes. Life became really stressful, I had way less sleep, and I had no idea if I would be eligible to compete at Area with the marching band. I ended up dropping AP English and only taking my AP art history class. The year ended up being more manageable and my grades skyrocketed. I was able to bring up my grades and I ended the year with all A’s.
If I hadn’t dropped AP English, I don’t know if I would have been able to do as well as I did the rest of the year. It’s really all about how much you can handle while still keeping your grades where you want them. Yes, you want good grades for transcripts, but also remember that you shouldn’t be killing yourself with the amount of hard classes you take. Remember to still have time to take care of yourself.
** Classes **
High school is the time where you are trying to get a general idea of what you want to do in life or pursue in college. I figured out a year or two ago that art, design, + art history were really some things I wanted to pursue, but that required me to take some classes in those areas. I took art 1 sophomore year and then both art 2 and AP art history junior year. These were always things that interested me since I was a child, and I am self taught, but I was able to finally take classes in high school and I am so glad I did. I learned that in order for me to find what I really wanted, I needed to branch out and take some classes that really interested me. Use those electives! They are your opportunities to take some classes that might interest you, even if it’s only a little bit. You never know what could turn into your passion!
** Grades **
When it comes to grades, if they start getting low or you’re struggling in a course, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Tutors aren’t bad. I ended up getting tutoring for both Algebra 2 and Physics this year, and I don’t know if I would have survived junior year without them. They are a huge help and can often explains things a different way than you’re teacher at school. If you can’t afford a tutor or aren’t able to make time for one, even a friend that is doing better in the class is a great way to get help. They understand your struggle and can often give you even a few tips.
** Friends **
High school is your time to also enjoy time with friends before everyone heads off to college. Don’t spend all your time on school work! Try to hang out with your pals once or twice a week. It’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of high school.
Also, I learned this year that everyone changes. Friends you may have had for a long time, may not be the same people that they once were. Some people grow apart, and that’s okay. Friends come and go, but the real ones will stay by your side and support you. If they don’t support you or take more than they give, it’s probably not a healthy friendship. You don’t need negativity added to your already stressful and busy high school life. Instead, try and reconnect with some friends that you just maybe haven’t talked to in a while. Sometimes people just get busy and grow apart. All it takes is a little talk and maybe some brunch to get it going again. I got to reconnect with some of my favorite girls when we had leadership camp for band and I’m really glad we did. It brought a lot more happiness and positivity to my life.
** Being an Upperclassman **
FINALLY! What you’ve been waiting for right? You’re no longer the freshman sprinting to make it to class before the 5 minutes passing period to end and struggling to find her class. You’re no longer a sophomore, the often forgotten grade in the middle. You’re an upperclassman! You think, “OH BOY! I get to boss around underclassmen and I’m top of the food chain!” HA! You’re so wrong. Being a junior, yes, you’re an upperclassman but NOOO: you are not top of the food chain yet. Save that for the seniors. They earned their spot at the top. You still have to finish one more year before you’re there! AND…being an upperclassman isn’t all about bossing around those scared underclassman. Remember they are your legacy. What would you want your school to be like after you leave? Also, I’m sure if you were an underclassman, you really wouldn’t appreciate the harassment. It just makes being a newbie even harder! Try to be nice! Even if it’s just telling that poor lost freshman whether room D217 is upstairs or downstairs. Be like a helpful older sibling and provide some guidance.
** Clubs, Honor Societies, and Leaderships Roles **
Get involved! Join some clubs and apply for honor societies! Yes, they look great on college apps but they are an even better place to make great friends and help out your community!
This past year I was in National Art Honor Society, Tri-M (Music Honor Society) and Junior Achievement. They all gave me opportunities to meet more people at school and also expand on my abilities in my favorite classes. In NAHS, we also did things to help our community like painting picnic tables and hosting finger painting for kids at the park .
I finally just went for it and tried out to be on my band’s leadership team and I ended up making it! I made drill instructor for my clarinet section and I also was made the band’s librarian. Being drill instructor taught me leadership skills, how to teach others and how to speak up for myself. Also, being librarian helped me learn how to use an office copier and all of its different options and capabilities, which could really come in handy one day in an office job.
** Take Care of Yourself **
I learned that I need to be able to spend some time focusing on me. Stress levels reached record heights for me this past year, and I learned some ways to try and lower those. I love just taking a short drive in my car, grabbing a pink drink from Starbucks, doodling, and coloring. Sometimes art can even get strenuous for me since it’s what a want to pursue, so sometimes I need a break from that pressure to be super creative. Those adult (advanced) coloring books you can purchase at book stores or craft stores are perfect for de-stressing after a bad day. I like taking mine to my backyard and sitting in one of our chairs by the pool. It’s super calming and gives you something to focus on besides whatever is bothering you. Also, just talking to someone can help. I love just giving the occasional rant to a friend when it’s needed and grabbing coffee or a bite to eat. Letting it all out can just really help you feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
Of course I learned more than this, but this is quite a long post as it is, haha! I hope you learned something as well. Of course, everyone has different high school experiences, so some of y’all might learn other things. I am just so excited for senior year!!
Let me know if y’all would want to see more posts like this. I enjoyed writing a more personal post for y’all than I usually do. If you do want more posts like this, you can either like this post, comment on it, or DM me on my insta by clicking HERE!
I hope y’all are having a great summer so far and if you have any ideas or things you want to see here on the blog, you can DM me on instagram or email me by clicking the contact button in my insta bio!