DEAR JUNIORS

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DEAR JUNIORS

Junior year. It suddenly feels like you’re nearing the end, but you’re not quite there yet. Junior year is filled with constant reminders of “what’s ahead” and reminders of your always-present list of to-dos. There’s no shortage of pressure during this year, from both school related and non-school related sources. Specifically in junior year, however, most of these pressures are tied to one dreadful phrase: the college application.

The thought of having your achievements over the past 17 or 18 years scrutinized by strangers does not sink in during sophomore year, but does the first day of junior year. Subsequently, fear, anxiety and stress will all find their way into the mind of a junior. While you’re already longing for life in college, don’t let this take away from living in the moment. Junior year is fun, memorable and a huge period of transition. Let yourself find a balance between staying on top of all of your work and taking care of yourself with breaks. Most importantly, the big changes you’ll experience in mindset, will happen quickly. Typically, that will make the anxiety of the college application process outweigh the excitement.

We won’t sugarcoat it. Junior year is rough. The college application process has a way of forcing you to compare yourself to other people. This constant comparison will make you feel a lot of self-doubts and sometimes will make you feel inadequate about your achievements. Remember that you are unique and that you should try and refrain from comparing yourself to others. Apart from peer pressure, regret is another source of pain. Trust us, “I should have” is the most frequently-used phrases by every junior. As you try to make the common application as loaded as possible, every junior inevitably and uniformly recalls all the times where he/she slacked off academically or failed to take advantage of certain extracurricular opportunities. Every junior will make themselves believe that if they had done certain things, that would have made them a more qualified candidate for college application.

As this process takes course over junior year, make sure you don’t lose confidence in your worth as a student, person and college candidate. The stress of the college application process can make it easy to turn extracurricular activities into jobs instead of passions. Although college counselors, teachers and parents constantly assure you that the “name” college you go to will not greatly impact your future, it’s hard for any of these comments to genuinely change the mindset of a stressed junior. As an alternative, try not to think about college as a destination, but rather as a new beginning. Focus more on how you can achieve your life-goals in your college, rather than regretting over not getting into a better one. Always keep in mind that your value and potential as an individual can never be measured solely by what colleges you’re admitted to. Remember that all the ways of coping with hardship that you will surely develop during junior years have profound impacts on your whole life, way beyond four years of college. Therefore, treat junior year not as a burden, but as a precious learning experience.

Through all of this, the stress will prosper. If we could offer any one piece of advice to an incoming junior, it would be about the balance. The reality is that you have to work hard your junior year with the all of the things you’re expected to constantly be juggling. Remember that to succeed in all of these things, you must make sure to take care of yourself too. Remember to sleep and take time to do things for yourself. Don’t worry juniors, you’ve got this!

– Mia and JZ

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