Monday September 21, 2015: a day whose impact would stick with me to this very moment. The day consisted of four tests, dozens of pages of reading material, worksheets and writing. The carefree mindset of summer that had lingered in my head up until that point sunk like a boat into the deep abyss. My brain’s fight or flight instinct kicked in. It was during that week that I had to come to terms with what life would be like as a junior.
School was no longer just about classwork and homework. It had become about consistently and truly applying myself to meet the demands of classes.
I was faced with the choice of floating through the daily motions, crossing my fingers that I could somehow stumble into a few Bs, or seizing the opportunity that was heading straight at me.
I had come into the school year hearing the horror stories of being a junior. Tales of studying till 2:30 a.m., preparing yourself for challenging courses and AP tests. But up until that moment, it had just been noise in my ear. A danger so distant it could never actually pose a threat to me.
I needed to sit down and think about what it was going to take to succeed that year. Things could no longer be left to the last moment. Waiting till the final week of a semester to learn four months worth of material was no longer going to cut it. Leaving my grades up to a fateful meeting with a final exam at the end of the term was not the way to get things done.
That Monday night — in the final week of September — I sat down and I studied the material, completed the worksheets and finished the reading. I conquered whatever knowledge it was that I set out to acquire that night, but the one thing I really learned that week was focus. Not just short-term focus that could get me through a class period or test, but an overall focus on achieving a goal.
Junior year is not easy, and that is a line commonly repeated throughout high school. Many students often don’t realize the challenge of the year until they are stuck right in the thick of it.
Don’t get blind sided. Be ready for the moment when it comes. Learn to manage your time and learn to focus on academic goals when it is necessary. The sooner you develop good habits in school the easier it will become.
Junior year is the time to grow and push yourself. If you stay focused and recognize what you have to do to achieve your goals, then the daunting monster junior is made up to be is not so daunting after all.