Tips For High School Juniors

Advice For High School Juniors From Seniors

Junior year survival tips from the people who just lived through it.

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paris
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Junior year is widely considered the most intense, stressful year of high school. But, do not fear- you can and will get through it. In fact, high school seniors are living proof that it's possible. I asked my fellow seniors for their best tips to survive Junior year, and here's what we came up with.

1. Get Organized!

If you haven't already developed responsible work and study habits, now is definitely the time. Junior year will probably not be 100% smooth sailing work-wise. School work and extracurriculars become much more manageable once you increase your organization and productivity. If you tend to procrastinate, make a conscious effort to complete your homework right away. It may help you to outline your day the night before, figuring out when you will have time to complete work in between school and activities.

2. Visit Colleges!

Try to do all of your college visits early. If you finish visiting all the schools you're interested in during your junior academic year, you'll be all ready to fill out your applications and write your essays over the summer. Plus, it's better to visit colleges during the academic year so you can get a vibe of what the student body is like. Trust me, senior year will be much less stressful if you get all of that college stuff out of the way beforehand.

3. Take Standardized Tests Early!

If you're planning on taking a standardized test such as the SAT or ACT, it's best to get it out of the way as soon as possible! Nobody enjoys test prep, but putting it off will only drag the process out and make it less bearable. Regardless of how you plan to study (with a tutor, in a class, or on your own), it's not too soon to get started!

4. Focus on school!

If there's one year you should really be focusing on your grades, this is it. You've definitely heard this before, but junior year grades really matter on college applications. If your freshman and sophomore year grades aren't stellar, it's not too late to turn your GPA around. Put in that extra effort this year and your hard work will definitely pay off. Plus, colleges like to see grade improvement!

5. Try new things!

Junior year is a great time to participate in extracurricular activities and further explore your interests. You should definitely continue the activities you've done and enjoyed in the past, but also consider trying some new ones! Take every opportunity that comes your way, even if it's new and daunting- you never know where it could lead you.

6. Spend time with friends!

Before you know it, you and your high school friends will be splitting up and moving on. Be sure to cherish the time you spend with them now, because the next two years will go by much faster than you expect. In between all your hard work, don't forget to have some fun with the people you love!

7. Live in the moment!

Soon enough, you'll be going off to college or wherever else your independent life may take you. Enjoy this year as much as possible while it lasts. Surround yourself with great friends, do what makes you happy, and try as many new things as you can. This is a time for exploration and self-discovery, so make the most of it!

Now that you have some helpful tips, I'm confident that you'll thrive in your junior year of high school. Remember that with the right balance of responsibility, hard work, and fun, you can make this year awesome. You've got this!

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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From Freshman To Sophomore, How A Year Can Make A Difference

Wise words from a high school graduate and upcoming college sophomore.

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A year ago I found myself on a high. I was ready to graduate, get out of my hometown, and start a new life at the college of my dreams. Everything seemed to be going right. I was prepared for final exams. My 18th birthday was around the corner. Family and friends were planning graduation parties to celebrate end-of-the-year accomplishments, and my senior trip to Mexico couldn't come soon enough. If only the month of April could speed up any faster, I thought.

When May came along I didn't think I could keep up. While we had planned weeks in advance, every day spent having an event became exhausting. Having final exams during the middle of it all didn't help either. As senior class president, I enjoyed being able to represent my classmates throughout the year and watching everyone come together to receive their awards made my heart fill with joy. It's amazing to see what a year can do.

Upon graduation night I'll admit I was a little nervous. Everything I had learned up to that point had been defined by my childhood and high school experiences. The future was unknown, and I didn't know what step to take next. Some would say I thrived in high school. I thrived at being at the top of my class, kept a 4.0 GPA, was involved in a multitude of extracurricular activities, worked a part-time job, and still found time to spend with friends and family. However, my speech at commencement did not include bragging rights for me to explain all the good I did throughout my four years at Jacksonville High. After graduating, I felt extremely blessed that I had an amazing experience with memories to last a lifetime. I wouldn't be the person I am today without the encouragement from my family, friends, teachers, and school administrators who made high school a highlight of my life.

But my story doesn't end there. And neither should yours.

Being removed from the standard high school setting and seeing the world for what it has to offer, I would never go back again. Though it was an incredible four years, I know it wasn't the best four years of my life. Yes, I had fun learning new subjects and going to athletic events meeting new people and gaining more friends. It is the place I made many memories, good and bad. But I have learned so much more since receiving my diploma and walking across the stage.

Nothing compares to freshman year of college.

I always knew high school wasn't going to be where I peaked. I've had dreams and aspirations to major in public relations at The University of Alabama, and I've accomplished it. I wanted to make new friends, study new subjects, and attend football games at the best school in the nation. I've found my new home in Tuscaloosa, and I couldn't be more thankful that the Lord has sent me here to make a difference. Though it is exhausting to be a full-time college student working two jobs and be involved on campus, the love and support of a college community are unlike any other. In high school, you are around the same people 24/7, but at university, I meet new people with different perspectives every day.

A year ago, I found myself heading on a road with vision but not knowing which path to take. I thought about all the ways my senior year had changed me and what college had in store. 10/10 would have to say that freshman year was one for the books. I made a new identity for myself — to not care about what others think and to stay true to my own morals and beliefs. With perseverance and hard work, I have been able to accomplish my goals and work towards future ones. I've grown in my walk with Christ and asked him to mold me into a woman of God ready to spread his gospel and use me according to his purpose.

Life has a crazy way of working itself out, despite the fears and anxiety of what is to come. To any high school senior, my best piece of advice is to enjoy this time you have left to the fullest. You'll miss having your friends and family close to your side when you are at university. Spend this summer exploring and experiencing new things. This past year I finally gave myself a chance to start living in the present moment. In response, I have been rewarded beyond measure. I've had incredible experiences and met indescribable people. Today, I am blessed for what the future has in store and trust that God has great plans for my life.

Wow, how a year can make a difference.

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