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Dear Sophomores: Get Ready

Advice from a worn out junior

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Sophomores, I am writing to you for your own benefit. Merely because this year was nothing that I ever expected it to be. If I had to sum up junior year into one word, I would use the word exhausting. I need you to listen to me and listen well. This year could possibly break you. But it could also make you. If you follow my advice, maybe you will have an easier time this year than I did.

Know your academic boundaries
Challenge yourselves with AP classes, but also know your limits. Take into account the fact that this year can be the most difficult year of your high school career. This year is when you begin to think about college, standardized testing and deal with a myriad of changes whether it be getting a license or fitting in more extracurriculars. If you don’t have strength in a specific subject FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T TAKE THAT SUBJECT IN AN AP COURSE. Because this year brings upon so many stressors, a class that you consistently don’t understand the material in will NOT help you. For me, I have never excelled in math or science. I did myself a disservice by taking an AP Physics course because I thought it would bring up my GPA. With a more challenging course comes more challenging work, and unless you spend every waking moment trying to understand topics that never came easy for you, you won’t do your best. The administration tells students that everyone can take these difficult classes. But not everybody can. These classes-if chosen correctly-will boost your GPA and quite possibly save you college money.

Try any extracurricular
Whether you were afraid of stepping into something new or you didn’t feel like you were good enough, experimenting with different activities will help you figure out your interests. Two years ago, I danced on the Prairie Ridge stage with my ballet company. I never imagined two years later I would stand on that stage and speak in front of all my peers as a member of the PRHS Speech Team. Speech Team taught me that I have the ability to do anything. In the beginning of the year, I had no desire to speak in front of my peers because I feared I would be judged. But then, I did. And people enjoyed what I was doing! With speech team, I also joined the makeup crew in musical which was a great time, was apart of SNHS, French club and Newspaper club. (I also began working.) Not only will these activities make you look involved on a college resumé, but they will also help to pass time and create bonds with people you might never have met.

Prep for ACT/SAT ASAP
Junior year is stressful enough. If you don’t believe your score is where it needs to be, begin test prep now so you can finish the ACT/SAT ordeal earlier. I began test prep too late, and I wish that I could have started the summer going into junior year-or even earlier so it wouldn’t stand as an underlying stressor. Also know that these tests do not define you. As cliche of a statement as that is, it holds truth. You will get accepted into some college. Whether it be Harvard or MCC, your future is brighter than it may seem. With hard work and determination you can achieve any goal.

Plan strategically your successes
Set goals for yourself. If you want a 4.0, figure out how you will achieve that goal. Set limits for yourself and stick to those limits. How will you get that 4.0? Have you calculated the lowest grade possible to still have that GPA? Without a game plan, football players won’t win a game even if they want to. The same goes for school. Focus on the process, but keep in mind the end result. Your work should match your goals. You cannot wish for good grades but put in no effort.

Approach with caution; accept mistakes
Do not take life too seriously. Things will change junior year. You may realize you don’t want to be a doctor. You don’t want to go to that college. You don’t want to go to a college. Your friend groups might change. You may hate your classes. This is only one year; you will survive if you realize that life constantly changes and so do your feelings about the world. Everything will work out fine. Stop worrying. Go to bed on time. Do things that will benefit your body. Treat it physically and emotionally well. Focus on bettering yourself as a human and learning how to cope with stressful situations. Worst comes to worst, just try and survive this year.

Overall, I would say my junior year was jam-packed with stress and a mix in of fun. This year is important, so take it seriously. But also know that it’s okay to make mistakes and you will learn from your failures. Try new things! High school only happens once (thankfully), so try to make it as worthwhile as possible!

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