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Remembering what matters before I plunge into the infamous junior year

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My classmates and I have always dreaded the infamous junior year. What with the stress over grades and extracurricular activities, as well as the inevitable drama that comes from Junior Prom, incoming juniors from all over the country clench their jaws and prepare for one of the roughest academic years ever.

After watching numerous people fall apart during junior year, I decided to write about all that I have learned in my sophomore year - that is, write about what really matters at this point in my life. That way, I will always have these thoughts with me whenever I go through rough times. I wrote the following article on the first day of summer before junior year.

What a year. I felt like sophomore year would never end, but now that summer has come, the school year went by too fast. How is it possible that we could feel something goes by too slowly and too quickly at the same time? I remember all the countless times I swore that sophomore year would drag on forever, but now it's done. Is that what life's going to be like? I'll be old and wrinkly and whitehaired, and I'll be sitting in a rocking chair reserved for old grannies, with my equally old husband at my side, and I'll think, "Wow. I'm old already. And all I wanted when I was little was to grow up as fast as I could..."

Anyhow, sophomore year was a nice year, even if I did lose one or two of my closest friends. But you know what, I finally figured it out. Sometimes we learn the most from people we eventually leave. Sometimes heartbreak tears us apart just so that the pieces can fuse together stronger next time. Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone we love is to leave them.

I guess you could say I actually - matured? - this year. It's funny to think that in all the years before this year, I thought of everything as black or white, good or bad. Of course I thought I was an exception to that rule, because I'm not just good, I'm awesome haha. Ok, but seriously speaking, I learned something rather unfortunate and difficult this year - that maybe everyone could be simultaneously right and wrong at the same time. I also learned something even more unfortunate - that all the times i was POSITIVE I was right, I turned out to be wrong. I'm not so extreme anymore. I'm not jaded, exactly, just a little more mellow.

I also learned that we can't possibly be happy if we don't like ourselves. The weird thing about high school is we either fall apart and forget what it means to just relax, or we figure ourselves out and emerge a stronger person. I'm going to be a junior next year, and I'm not particularly afraid. I know it's only as stressful as I make it, so I'll be chill with whatever happens. I anticipate a good year - I don't anticipate a long and painful death. Maybe I'll do a lot better if I aim to win rather than to not lose. I'll try to have fun rather than to just survive.

I pinky promised someone that I wouldn't super stress in junior year, and I always hold by on pinky promises. I might not follow the rules all the time - or half the time - but I ALWAYS follow up on pinky promises. Remember, the pinky promise is the ultimate contract. I promise that no matter what happens, I won't forget to have fun and to occasionally indulge myself in extraordinarily productive activities like counting the number of bumps on the ceiling or staring at the sky.

I just know that when I'm a senior, I'll look back on junior year and think, "You know what? It wasn't that bad, really. A bit stressful, sometimes. But kind of nice, actually."



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CaseyLeigh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm:
as a junior who's somewhat fallen apart this year, this article definitely resonates with me. it's a good reminder to stay strong!
 
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