I’m almosT there, how what I’ve learned can help you

Shrija Shandilya | The Chronicle

While the stress of college application is very real and daunting, there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching senior year. You feel like you’ve made it past the worst of it all. Looking back at past years as a senior proves that hindsight really is 20/20.

Freshman year is easily the best year to try everything you can, because you do not have to know what you want to do in the future yet and it’s completely alright if your plans change. Explore diverse subjects, join that club and try out for that team, because you truly never know what you like until you try it. For the longest time I thought I wanted to go into medicine, but freshman year I realized how much I love to write and debate through taking Honors English and joining Debate and this completely changed my path for the future for the better.

Sophomore year is when you begin to figure out who you are and where you develop the study habits and skills you will need going forward. It’s a good idea to start looking into what you want to do in the future and as a career. You can take your first AP class and your first ACTor SAT. It’s good to be proactive but there’s no reason to stress out quite yet.

Junior year is one of the most testing years, academically and emotionally. You’re taking the hardest classes you’ll take in your high school life, studying for the ACT and SAT, and you try your hardest to build the best extracurriculars you can. It’s an incredibly crucial year and everything feels very do or die. The stress of junior year is compound because not only are you taking tough classes but you also have many expectations because it’s the last full year of your transcript that colleges will see. It’s so incredibly easy to drown in the sea of stress and expectations, but it’s important to take a step back. You have to realize that stress is normal, but you can’t let it consume you. The best thing to remember for charting junior year is to focus on one thing at a time. If you focus on individual tasks you have to do, then the mountain of work you will inevitably have will feel much smaller and more doable.

By the time you’re a senior you will have gone through it all and even if it doesn’t seem that way in the moment, you gain a lot from struggling a lot. It’s unfortunate that going through this stress and seeing people around you go through it is just a normal part of high school but it’s a great opportunity to continue to learn and grow more. Of course it’s easy to say all of this after making it out of the worst of it, but reflecting on the past will make you realize that you’re grateful for each and
every experience and would not change it.