For the first three quarters of the school year, I think we can all agree the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride from achieving good grades, as well as our natural desire for knowledge, drives us to perform our very best in our classes. But for the last quarter of the year, daydreams of beach lounging and Capri Sun chugging is the sole source of motivation for teachers and students alike (although I am sure teachers will not just be chugging juice boxes).
For us juniors, however, we do not have the luxury of those daydreams anymore. We must spend the summer volunteering, interning, and building our resume; basically doing anything that makes us look good on paper. Those added responsibilities replace our summer fun with college stress, making junior and senior year feel like one never-ending nightmare.
In the weeks before my junior year began, I was forewarned of the struggles and stigmas that surround what is arguably the most infamous year of high school. Horror stories of rigorous AP tests, relentless waves of homework assignments, and brain busting research papers flowed into my feeble sophomore ears, effectively scaring me half to death.
When I timidly sat at my desk my first day of junior year, I was hoping all of those stories were extreme examples of hyperbole and myth. Oh, boy, did my hopes fail me. Junior year turned out to be all of those tall tales and more, with sleep deprivation and mental breakdowns becoming a regular occurrence, classrooms began to look more like a juvenile psychiatric ward rather than a bastion of education.
Now that my junior year is coming to a close, I realize my dream of summer being the metaphorical light at the end of the school year tunnel is not the case as it was in previous years. All of us juniors are facing the hard reality that we must continue our seemingly never-ending grind if we want a sliver of a chance at getting into the college of our choosing.
Netflix binging on a nocturnal schedule will not cut it when I will be balancing a schedule of internships and dual enrollment classes. It goes without saying I despise the fact that I will spend the next three months reminiscing over my past summer fun as I am cranking out college essays.
I sure hope the cycle of stress and sleepless nights is worth it, because as it stands right now I am ready to be shipped off to college where the cycle will continue just the same – but worse.