An Open Letter to Rising Juniors In High School

An Open Letter to Rising Juniors In High School

You'll make it out.
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Dear rising juniors,

First of all, congratulations!! You've made it! You're an upperclassman and halfway through high school, and in 21 months, you will have graduated! What?? That is a serious accomplishment, and I am so proud of you!

But also... now you're a junior. Yeah, I'm sure you've heard all about it - how GREAT junior year is, how much fun and how much of a breeze everything is. Right? (in case you haven't, I have another related article here)

Well, take it from someone who has survived -- it isn't the easiest. In fact, it will be really hard, regardless of your schedule. You will have long sleepless nights where you are staring down a stack of books, and the only thing that will stick in your head is, Why am I here?! Why am I taking these classes?? Can I please drop out and be a stripper??? (and if that's not what is running through your brain, it's probably the lyrics to some song you haven't heard since 2011)

People will heap stuff on you. Seriously, you can't drive your brother to school, meet your boyfriend for breakfast and make the FCA meeting. Your teachers will decide one project isn't enough, so they make it two and a test tomorrow - in three different classes. Oh yeah, you forgot to get all of your in-school service hours for the semester, and you have a math test to make up from when you had a migraine that one time. And student council reallyyyyy needs you to drop off some letters at this radio station in Sandy Springs, can you please???

And finally, you will get that infuriating wave rush over you where you feel like you're running out of time. College in a year and a half??? How do I see my friends, play volleyball and soccer and have a job? And now I have to tour universities? When's naptime? UGH my favorite band is visiting tomorrow??? And does my family even still exist if it's been two and a half months since I've even seen them?? Can we just go to the beach.

But seriously, breathe. All of that is true, and the stress is a thing, but it is not the end-all be-all of your year. From 10,000 feet down, first thing is that it's super cool you're alive. You've been given another year to live and breathe and collect memories, so please don't take that for granted (this is a serious statement here, please remember that it's awesome you're alive). Also, you will be successful even if school is not your strong suit. Don't stress out so badly that you forget your own worth -- there is a job, a family and a future for everyone.

And finally, just stay balanced. Sometimes, you're going to have to choose and say no to something, whether it be going to opening night for a movie in order to study, telling your boyfriend to just Facetime you so that you can have dinner with your mom or even requesting off a few nights from work to just sleep. With so much going on, it is easy to get caught up in EVERYTHING and fall apart without even realizing it, and your mental health is key. With sleep and self-love, you can literally do anything - so please fatten that college resume without hating your life.

Welcome to the upperclassman club!! You've got it from here. And if you feel overwhelmed and lost and scared, just remember that at least, you're not a freshman anymore/yet.

Much love,

A survivor

Cover Image Credit: Lars Larson Show

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Coping With The Loss Of A Passion

It's hard to get it back once you lose it.

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In college, time to focus on passions seems limited. The homework, essays, group projects, and exams are never-ending.

In high school, I took my free time for granted. I was dancing four hours four nights a week, but I wasn't constantly stressed. I had time to focus on my passion, which is dance.

In college, I am a part of an amazing dance club. But I don't get to compete, take technique classes, or be with the team I was with since I was 8 years old. Now, I receive videos of my team from home's amazing performances, and it aches a bit. I am so proud and happy for their growth but jealous that they have more years than I do. It is nearly impossible to find technique classes at college to take with no car, little free time, and barely any money. I miss my team, I miss my dance teachers and choreographers, and I miss competitions, but most of all, I miss the person I was when I had the opportunity to pursue my passion several hours a week.

My passion will always be there, and I do get to pursue dance on a smaller scale with some amazing dancers in college, but I am coping with the fact that I will never do another competition with my team again, I will never be able to dance with them again, and I will never be able to learn from my dance teachers again. It's a hard loss, one that I think about every day.

To anyone who still has the opportunities to pursue their passions to the fullest extent, you are lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to keep up with their sport, passion, or activity that they dedicated all of their time to in high school. Don't take a single second of it for granted, and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Take time to reflect on why you love it so much, how it makes you feel, and how you can express yourself during it. Whatever this passion or activity is, make every second count.

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