What I've Learned From My Junior Year of High School

What I've Learned From My Junior Year of High School

How my mindset changed from the beginning of my junior year of high school to the end of it.
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Since the day I entered high school it has been constantly drilled into my head that junior year is the worst. That I won't know stress until junior year, I won't know real drama until junior year, and I won't learn about myself more than I will junior year. Freshman year, when I skipped multiple days of school due to stress and the inability to sit through another class period of Honors Bio, I was told by teachers and coaches and upperclassmen, "Just wait until junior year." Sophomore year, when I managed my first B+'s in two classes and suffered through my first AP class, the phrase still persisted: "just wait until junior year."

Though I didn't really believe what everyone said about junior year, I was still terribly nervous for what the year would bring me. I spoke with seniors in the class above me before the year began and remember them telling me my friend group would change, my grades would change, everything would change. I didn't believe it - how could things be so different? I'd been best friends with the same girl since seventh grade, how could that friendship end? I had gotten all (but two B+'s) A's throughout my time in high school, and I never was, and still am not, into the party scene or anything affiliated. Even then, I walked into my junior year with a good amount of skepticism, masked by my enthusiasm and confidence for another strong year. Within the first week things felt off. I was not my normal happy self and I was struggling - already. I began to struggle with multiple classes, not just one. It all came down on me hard, and I was not ready for it.

Soon my relationships began to fall. My relationship with my friends and my family and my boyfriend all became wary, and they all were trying different ways to "fix" what was wrong with me - which ended up being a lapse of depression and anxiety. My friendships continued to fall apart as my two closest friends and I acted as if nothing was going wrong, with an underlying awkwardness that came with every time we hung out. As it was becoming more apparent that things would not work in my favor, and I kept falling further and further away from who I actually was, I began losing my friends, my support, and most noticeably myself. I was constantly feeling sorry for myself but simultaneously feeling horrible for the things that I was doing to my friends who were truly just trying to help me. On top of that, I was struggling with my schoolwork and falling very behind on assignments. My grades had never been that consistently low in my life. I started therapy and disliked every minute of it; it was exhausting and I dreaded it every single time I had to go.

As my junior year of high school came to a much happier close, I took with me some very important lessons. First, I've learned that it is okay to let someone go if they are not good for you or your happiness, no matter how long you've known them for. I've also learned that losing friends is hard, but things will always work out in your favor if you just keep pushing through. I have grown away from some of the most important people in my life this year, but I have also become closer with others that I would not wish to ever lose. I've learned that friends will come and go, but family is forever, and to not take for granted the love that I receive from family. I've learned that writing is a very good stress reliever (and is a safe and non-destructive way to let out anger), that you can't always trust everyone you are close to, and that sometimes time to yourself is the best medicine. But most importantly I've learned to never, ever give up. Had I given up, my grades would be much below sub-par, I wouldn't have the friends that I do, and I wouldn't have reached the happiness and contentment that I am at now. Junior year has most definitely been the hardest year I've had to endure, but I made it through and I am undoubtedly a much stronger person because of it.


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Just Your Friendly Reminder That You Are An Adult

You are not a Hufflepuff, you are in your 30s.

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Whether it is intentionally misspelling words to sound like a child, or you're buying Lin Manuel Miranda's "self-help" "book" "Gmorning, Gnight: Little Pep Talks for Me & You," people from the ages of 18-70 are acting like complete children, and it is time to put a stop to it.

This is not a rag exclusively on millennials, although they are the most obvious offenders. After all, it was baby boomers that invented the mid-life crisis which was code for grown men abandoning their families to have sex with 22-year-old girls and buy ridiculous cars.

Of course, the mid-life crisis can be explained by having too much money to know what to do with, which is the case with a lot of boomers. My dad is a baby boomer who has not had a mid-life crisis. The most obvious explanation? He still works for a living.

Instead of following in the path of people like my father, adults from all generations prefer to do stuff that should be for kids. The majority of people who buy comic books are adult men. Comic books failed as a medium because rather than remain appealing to children, they are only bought by people who read them as children and are continuing to read them as adults.

A lot of adults do fantasy football leagues too. In a simpler time, creating an entire game of make-believe would have been the activity of children, and an adult's fantasy would be starting a family or something.

And you can see this with movies too. I actually saw several people say that they better not see any children in the movie theater when Disney releases their "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" remakes because the original Disney films were "made for us".

Is this where we are supposed to be as a society? Refreshing your computer screen every five minutes to buy tickets to see the next Avengers movie instead of letting a child go.

Don't get me started with the whole self-help/self-care environment. Look, nobody is saying never talk about your feelings. I think modern psychology shows us talking about your feelings and opening up will, in the long run, be the healthiest option for everybody.

People, especially men, should not idolize the whole "strong, silent type" nobody wants to go back to "I work at the docks 50 hours a week and haven't spoken two words to my wife since our third kid was born. And now I've died at the ripe old age of 37."

That is unhealthy, but, we have become far too infantile when it comes to dealing with mental health. The online self-care community has gone way too far with its often performative measures.

And sometimes self-care is detrimental to someone's health. Staying in your pajamas and eating whatever new flavor Ben and Jerry thought up should be a rare luxury, not something you do to make yourself feel better. As a person who is prone to long stages of melancholy, I assure you that will never make you feel better.

Twitter has "self-care" bots programmed to tweet things like "please go eat today" which may be totally necessary in extreme cases, but it puts the job of performing the most basic functions (all the stuff we learn as babies) to someone other than you.

Should we not be worried that marketers and corporations are going to pounce on that? There are already phone apps that remind people to eat, sleep, and breathe for a monthly fee. How is that not a major red flag for all the people that have read any dystopian fiction?

You just see more and more people publishing articles like "How to Enjoy an Adult's Only Trip to Disney World" and "We Put the 2020 Presidential Candidates in Hogwarts Houses!" and now we need to do something about it.

Of course, I would be a fool to overlook how we got to this position in the first place. Why would an adult want to escape to a fantasy world where they can ride dragons and have sex with their aunt (Game of Thrones reference, still not going full Freud) or manage their own sports team?

It is probably because their life sucks. All of the infantile examples I just went over are rooted mainly in one thing: escapism.

Marx once said, "religion is the opiate of the masses," but people never hear the end of the quote. He goes on to explain that when your life is so horrendous, you need opium to make your life seem less… horrendous!

When you're a factory worker who has to live in a shanty making pennies a day, the expectation of divine reward was probably the only thing that got you out of bed.

When you're waist deep in student debt on your second internship, maybe the next Avengers movie is all you have to look forward to.

If Marx was alive today, he'd probably say "Marvel Cinematic Universe is the opiate of the masses."

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