Li Suffers through Junior Rite of Passage

Natalie Li, Staff Writer

In stark contrast to the “second semester senior,” who exhibits a laid-back attitude and optimism attributed to college acceptances, the second semester junior doggedly “attempts” to survive through the end of the school year.

There is much emphasis on the junior year of high school being “the most important” in terms of getting into college. This crucial period determines the aftermath of life outside of high school, so we are told.

However, before we can enter this “brave new world” we must undergo various trials to prove our worth. The Maasai warriors of Africa used to have young boys from ages ten to fifteen hunt fully-grown lions for their rites of passage. Nowadays, our trials are tough classes, AP testing, SAT/ACT tests, and the start of college searching. While this may seem less dangerous than the Maasai trials, I assure you that once you arrive at the mouth of this threshold, you might just find yourself wanting to take on a lion instead.

The hardest part for me is maintaining my motivation. I was one of those kids who loved homework in elementary school; clearly, things have changed since then. Nowadays, you can occasionally find me struggling to stay awake to write an Honors English essay that’s due in nine hours. Or cramming for a four-chapter AP Biology test that I am pretty sure I should have started studying for a week earlier.

Don’t think of me as a perpetual slacker or procrastinator, though. I work hard, stress out too often, and care deeply about doing my best. It is just that everyone has his or her tipping point, where he or she starts to crack under the bombardment of homework, tests, essays, and the pressure of doing well. This susceptibility increases in a second semester junior. Every other minute, I find myself wondering, is it all worth it?

Realistically, all this work should be worth it. We are overcoming obstacles and preparing ourselves for the real world. Yet, at the expense of our physical and mental health.

One of the tricks I employ to keep myself motivated is imagining what exactly I am working toward. For instance, during a particularly gruesome week, I imagine all the great things I’ll be able to enjoy that weekend. If that doesn’t work, I start planning for summer to help me have something to look forward to. And, if even that fails to motivate me, I imagine what kind of future I’ll have, such as college life and newfound independence.

There are a myriad of techniques that can be used to cope with the pressure. One student, let’s just call her the perpetual procrastinator, pushes deadlines to the limit, attacks everything in one fell swoop, and immediately moves on to the next challenge. I rely on Disney movies and music to keep me going.

With the looming threats of AP testing as well as finals week, the next month and a half is crunch time. It is so easy to be discouraged (trust me, all I have to do is talk to one of my senior friends) but in the long run, persistence is the better path. It sucks, and even though it seems like the end will never come, trust me, it ultimately will. Hang on to your friends and whatever keeps you sane or happy as the ride gets bumpier from here.

Fellow juniors, let’s make it through the final stretch.