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A Life Update and School Advice: Junior Year

Hello everyone! I'm not going to lie, my life has been quite crazy lately, especially since Junior year began. I feel like nothing could have prepared my for the insanity this year would bring. However, I am managing (with the help of a few cups of coffee daily and needed naps along the way). I thought I would give you guys just a bit of an update into my life and some tips I have for managing school and just existing in general.

Firstly, I have always been an overachiever. When I was younger, my dream college was Harvard and I wanted to be a "world peace ambassador" (Did I even know what that was? Probably not). In middle school and early high school, I was extremely competitive regarding my grades, sometimes studying late into the night just to make sure I got an A on a test or quiz. I was so focused on my grades and the numbers that sometimes it distracted my from what I was actually learning. This year has been a bit of an awakening for me personally. I am currently juggling AP Language and Composition, AP US History, AP Calculus, and Chinese 4 Honors. On top of that, I have a communications internship with the Asheville Art Museum and have several leadership positions throughout my school and community. 

Sometimes, though, there is a thing as too much.

This year I have had to prioritize what hobbies and extracurriculars really matter to me. For example, I ditched Indoor and Outdoor track. Why? It just wasn't right for me. I still did cross country (because who doesn't love running a 5K on the daily?) but I knew that track just wasn't a productive use of my time that would truly make me happy and fulfilled. I instead applied for a college internship through my local art museum. To my surprise, I actually got it, and now get to write about art weekly for their blog. While this might not be your cup of tea, it is a dream come true for me. Plus, I get to do something that will help me enter the job field that I desire.The lesson learned? It is okay to quit things that aren't productive for you. If it doesn't set your heart on fire, find something that does!

Another challenge I faced this year was accepting that I couldn't have perfect grades in every class all of the time! I know this sounds crazy, but pressure on high achieving teens, whether it be from themselves or those around them, can make a B seem unbearable. Going into junior year I had this picturesque image that I would keep 100 averages in all of my classes and be the perfect student all of the time. Did this happen? Of course not!!! On my first Calculus quiz I got a 66. I was so upset, stressed, and certain that I would not not be able to attend college and would instead spend the rest of my days wandering the country and hitchhiking. All jokes aside, I was so upset I came home crying to my parents. However, after quite a few academic blunders I can tell you that grades don't define you! I am not that 66 in my teacher's grade book and I am not my GPA. With hard work and many trips to my tutor, I was able to get my grade up to an A and the 66 didn't even matter. Even then, that number still wasn't me. This year I had to realize that stressing myself over stuff like that was pointless! Rather than beating myself up over what I did wrong, I tried to figure out what I could do to fix it. It made the world of a difference for my mental health, which took a heavy hit last semester as I struggled to juggle all of my work. Letting go of the little things helped tremendously with my stress levels.

Organization has also been a life saver.

I cannot stress enough: if you are a student or a busy human being, BUY A PLANNER! If I didn't write down every assignment I had to do nightly, I would probably go crazy. I have to write everything down, from upcoming quizzes and tests to homework due the next day. To keep things fun, I also began writing my outfits of the day (though at school they are mostly just t-shirts and jeans!). If you decide to do extracurriculars, having an agenda helps tremendously as well. Just for life in general, it is always good to write everything you can down.

Lastly, I would advise you to only take on what you can. 

While taking millions of AP classes may seem fun and like it will definitely get you into college, thats just simply not the case. Take classes that interest you and will help you in your career, not just those that will boost your GPA. I am so excited for my senior year because I get to take AP Art. I'm not doing it because of a number, though, I am doing it because I'm genuinely passionate about it. Be sure to take classes that you're passionate about! Besides, colleges will look at much more than a number on a page when deciding to admit you. Plus, school is so much better when you enjoy what you are learning!

This semester has been a whole lot better for me, both grade wise and with my mental health. Seriously, allowing yourself to breathe and not stressing over the little things makes the world of a difference. If you have any tips for students like myself, let me know on Instagram or in the comments below. I hope you found this post helpful and have a wonderful and happy week.


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