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Dear Juniors, Here’s What You Should Know

Dear Juniors, Here’s What You Should Know

I know how you are probably feeling right now because I was in the exact same position just a short year ago. You may be feeling stressed about the end of junior year; you may be wondering what on earth the college process means; you may be confused as to where you want to be and what you want to do in the future.

That’s totally normal.

It doesn’t help that seniors are now off on internships and that they have been checked out of class for the past few months. But just remember that next year, you will be in the same position, and you will love it. Use that as your motivation.

There is no doubt in my mind that the period between the start of second semester junior year and second semester senior year is tough. But having been through it, I have some tips for you that I wish I had known before senior year.

You may have heard these bits of advice a thousand times over; I know I did. But it can be hard to accept advice from a parent or teacher who seems so far removed from the process you are going through. So, since I just finished high school, perhaps you will accept my advice.


Tip #1:

No one thing is the end of the world.

When the pressure is on, it may seem like every quiz, every score, every dot on the Naviance scattergram is crucial. For your own sanity, please remember that it’s not.

Standardized testing is like a looming cloud over your heads.  But seriously, one test cannot define you, and it cannot be the one determinant for where you get into college. If you have not taken the SAT or ACT already, be sure to prepare so that you are not stressed when you’re taking the test. But don’t kill yourself over your score, and don’t think that you have to take the same test five or six or seven times to raise your score by 10 or 20 points. Save yourself the mental stress.

And like a test score, your GPA is just a number. None of these scores can be the one thing that defines you.


Tip #2:

Use your summer wisely.

As you walk out of your last final this year in June, it will feel like a massive weight has been lifted from your shoulders. You will feel free.

Enjoy the summer by doing whatever it is that makes you happy. Don’t try to build your resume any more than you already have. Don’t try to discern what would be a “good” use of your time. The beginning of senior year is going to be hard, and you want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated by the time you walk back through the front doors in the fall.

This being said, don’t be afraid to get ahead of the game by doing a little bit of work over the three months of summer. This isn’t meant to stress you out at all; it will actually do the opposite. If you spend maybe a few hours a week getting yourself ready for the college process, you will be thankful during first semester. It can be as simple as finalizing where you plan to apply, filling out your basic information on the Common App, or reading over the supplement prompts so you can start planning your essays.

Speaking from experience, I barely did anything for college last summer. On top of all my classes and trying to do well in them, I had to write countless drafts of countless essays, while also tweaking where I applied, and when. So, use the summer to get ahead in the college process.

Tip #3:

Don’t let the college process own you.

At the end of the day, you are so much more than the college process makes you out to be. Don’t let the colleges that accept you, or even deny you, become the way you define yourself. If you face disappointment, remember that every single person ends up where they are meant to be.

If it seems hard, or if you feel defeated at any point, remind yourself of how hard you have worked, and how much you have done to get where you are. No college should be able to take away your confidence and self-esteem. Don’t give them that right.

Tip #4:

Take it all in.

Though some weeks feel unbearably long or it seems that special dates such as December 15, April 1, or May 20 couldn’t come fast enough, it all goes by really fast. Reading this, you may think that all you will want is to be done with high school. I did, too.

But, at the same time, remember not to let the stress get to you so much that you can’t enjoy your last year of high school, your last year in Westport. Take time to enjoy yourself by giving yourself some time off and don’t forget that sleep is more important than an extra hour of studying.

I wish I could tell you that it’s going to be easy. I wish I could tell you it’s all going to be perfect. I can’t. What I can tell you though, is that no matter how it feels now, how it feels in December, or how it feels in April, you will make it through. I promise.


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