So jumping right in, I would definitely say this semester brought a lot of change with it! My class schedule increased in level quite a bit as I took on my first two AP classes and honors classes in two subjects that have always been harder for me. Last spring, as my friends and I all turned 16, we all marked 16 as the year of change. We envisioned ourselves a year into the future skinnier, tanner, better grades, with boyfriends, with jobs, cute new outfits, etc. Little did I know that the change would come in ways not imagined. The first day back I remember coming home and just being so overwhelmed on how different everything seemed. From classes to friends to just the atmosphere of my school, it all just seemed different and honestly, it completely freaked me out. I completely questioned myself: "What I am doing taking Honors Pre Calc", "Why did I decide to take two AP's", "Why can't things go back to the way they were just two months ago?". The amount of work junior year is definitely not a joke and I would be lying if I told y'all that there have not been nights and weekends where I have wondered how I can possibly get everything done in time (and occasionally tears to go along with it).
If you compare high school to a marathon, freshmen year is the warm up, sophomore year is finding your rhythm and feeling comfortable, while junior year is when you have to start pushing yourself to reach your goal. Not to say that freshmen and sophomore year don't matter (they do!) but junior year is definitely when you start to see graduation and college admissions right around the corner and you realize how much work you need to put in to get there.
Something that has been hard for me this semester is the comparison
Another thing that I have struggled a bit with this past semester, perfection. I am definitely a perfectionist and have a Type-A personality. I want my grades to be as high as possible, to spent weekends having amazing fun time with friends, get into that perfect college that is hard to get into, perfect skin, to weigh the perfect weight and to fit into that ideal dress size. And when those things don't happen, I view it as a disappointment. Grades for example. I mentioned Pre Calc earlier on in but I have never been a amazing math student. I do well but not extraordinary. This year, I opted to challenge myself and take honors, which has definitely been a challenge. I've received grades that I'm not proud of and spend possibly way too much time studying just to receive that grade. I haven't been realistic with myself honestly. Will I be getting an A this semester? No. Does that mean I haven't been working as hard as I can? No.
This semester, I have also realized that I try to make things appear as perfect as possible to others. Actually right before exams, I mentioned how stressed out I was about exams and a few classmates in my Spanish class told me that I don't get stressed. I go to cute little cafes with my organized notes and study in the most stress-free manner possible. While I was extremely flattered, I want y'all to know this couldn't be farther from the truth. No matter what that Instagram of my agenda looking perfect may lead you to believe, I don't have it all together all the time. I get stressed. I freak out over the trivial things. I don't go to cute cafes and get it all done. Most of the time, I'm doing homework in my room in comfy clothes with no makeup and my hair up freaking out about getting it all done. If you're in the same boat as the last sentence, don't worry! I have yet to meet someone who studies all the time in cute cafes and doesn't worry about anything (if you have, let me know! I would love to learn their secrets!).
A bit more on friendship that I've learned this past semester. If you can, go to lunch! Aka if you don't have a meeting or desperately need to meet with a teacher, go to lunch and eat with your friends! I can't tell y'all how many times that a lunch full of laughter is just what you need to push through the rest of your day! Make an effort with your friends too (something I need to work on a bit). I tend to get "in the zone" while working on homework (not necessarily a bad thing...) but I need to work on taking a bit of a break and texting friends. Plus it definitely adds a bit of sunshine to that afternoon of homework!
And for when friendships are a bit rough... it happens, you don't get invited to go something and you see the picture on Instagram while sitting on the couch alone in your pajamas. It hurts. But is the end of the world? No. It's happened to everyone and honestly you never fully know the story behind that one perfect picture. I remember my freshmen year not being invited to a party at a girl who was a friend at the time and being so hurt when seeing pictures all over Instagram. But it turned out that the pictures did not show everything and the "super fun" party was just a group of people awkwardly hanging out and making it seem so fun just for their Instagrams. It still definitely hurts but trust me in saying that in a year, month, or week from now you will have forgotten about it or moved on! You definitely do not have to have a "oh my gosh, we're besties" relationship with everyone you know but definitely be nice to everyone! Smile. Give little compliments that make other people's days.
I want to end this on a positive note, as junior is definitely a roller coaster featuring downs as well as many ups. Junior year has taught me so many things. How to challenge myself. How to step into situations where things are different that I'm used to. How to be a leader. How to manage my time. Some great things have come out of it, fun times with friends, college visits, taking on more leadership roles that I didn't expect, those good grades on projects and essays I have put a ton of effort into. Junior year has definitely pushed me (and is still pushing me) but I'm glad to say that (so far) it has challenged me to improve!
I hope for any of my fellow-juniors this helps you feel like you're not the only one you feels confused in that particular class or everything seems to be crashing apart! And also for my freshmen and sophomores, I hope this gives y'all a bit more of a realistic view of junior year (don't be scared, you can do it!).
Are you a junior? What have you learned from your first semester? Let me know in the comments!