Ah, the junior year experience. Daily grinds, heavy eyebags, and moderate hysteria perfectly sums up the 9 months of incredible stress.
Studying for APs really made me think about what I've done this year. I started writing this post about a week ago but couldn't finish because I was overloaded with things to do. I ended up skipping a week and didn't post. Now that APs are finally over, guess what I get to do? Not just writing more posts for the blog, but also - more studying! Yes you read that correctly. I still have my SAT subject tests on June 2nd that I need to cram for. We really can't catch a break junior year, can we?
Back when I was a sophomore, I didn't actually think junior year would amount to what upperclassmen were saying. "Literal hell," they were calling it. And yeah, I knew that there'd be a ton of stuff to do, with SATs, AP classes, AP tests, finding colleges, VISITING colleges, added to daily homework and projects, but I honestly thought I would be able to handle everything with ease. I pride myself in my ability to avoid procrastination, and my work ethic is well developed, and so I believed that it would be an okay year.
Boy, was I wrong!
Even though I'm pretty good at getting my work done, junior year has just been so overwhelming. This was the first year I took AP classes (AP French and AP Biology) and the workload is nothing like I imagined. It's so much worse. In AP Biology, specifically, we have tests basically almost every week, if not every other week, and so I constantly find myself studying over the weekend in addition to other homework I might have. This extremely limited my free time over both the school week and the weekend. My mom would ask me if I want to go to Great Mall with her or accompany her to buy groceries and other tasks and I would always have to say no, because of all the work I had. It's also extremely hard to make plans with friends because everyone is just bombarded with work. Not that I would actually try to hang out with people from school over the weekend...seeing everyone 5 times a week is enough in my opinion! But still, it's a nuisance having to plan based on everyone's busy schedules.
I still try to allocate time over the weekend to myself. I try to workout once a week, either Saturday or Sunday, and I give myself some Netflix time as well. Something I've set this year and that I've followed so far is a rule I like to call: 9 o'clock downtime. Basically, I don't let myself work after 9 PM. 9 PM to whenever I sleep is strictly for fun. I work during the day and relax during the evening. This is how I'm able to be efficient over the weekend yet have a bit of free time to just wind down before bed. That's also why I believe I'm pretty good at time management. This pushes me to work harder because I know I won't do anything in the evening, and so I'll be more motivated to work harder during the day because I don't want to feel guilty about being unproductive. It works for me!
I always find myself the most productive Monday afternoon after school. I think it's because it's the start of the week, and I'm not worn out just yet. Thursdays are the WORST. I'm still able to get my work done but I find it harder to motivate myself. I started noticing this phenomenon this year. Past years, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays felt the same.
Stress has been a big factor this year. I'm not talking about the daily stress when it comes to homework and classes, it's the COLLEGE and CAREER SEARCH that's been giving me major headaches. It takes time to research every college and university I've compiled, and to see whether I'd fit in or not, yet I don't really know until I've visited the campus. I've also been super stressed about finding a career path. I love graphic design and so I'm aiming for a career that incorporates that, yet it's not the main component of the job, so I think advertising would be the way to go. A specific job I found is the art / creative director. Basically, this career allows you to work with a team of other people to create art media, and you'd be working with a lot of the other branches of the advertising firm, for example the marketing branch, and not just graphic designers. I think this is perfect because like I said before, I want to perhaps lead a team of people but still be able to create.
From junior year, I've definitely improved on some skills that are extremely important to have, for college, work, and life in general. Out of all the skills, I'd say my time management has increased, due to again the workload I have to balance. It has taught me even more to try, work hard, and ultimately success will follow.
If junior year is accompanied by this much stress, I can only imagine what college is like. In less than two years I'll be living away from my family, and taking care of myself. With more freedom comes more responsibility and I can tell that I'll learn even more along the way. Junior year is just the start of a whirlwind of new experiences. I'm pretty excited for college, but I'm also a bit intimidated. What if I end up choosing a college that I hate? Switching schools is a definite option, but there's a ton of work that goes into it. I'm lucky to say that even though I don't have any older siblings, I do have two older cousins who are currently in college right now, so I have someone to talk to about all these fears.
Alright, I have much more to say but I'm going to keep this post short, to keep the balance the same through all my posts. Now I have to get back to studying for some SAT subject tests! I'm taking SAT Biology M (molecular) and SAT Math II. It's going to be a tiresome few weeks but I have faith I'll make it through, because hey! I survived my first round of APs, I can take on a couple more tests! It's not like this is my first rodeo.