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Getting Through Sophomore Year

3 min readnovember 2, 2020


Field Notes is a collection of articles curated by students and teachers from around the world detailing their academic experiences.
I won’t sugarcoat it: Sophomore year kind of sucked. My grades got worse, friendships became strained, and I was stressed out all the time! As my workload and extracurriculars piled up, I felt like I was going crazy. 
First semester started with a surge of productivity. I was determined to finish everything the day it was assigned, get an A on every test, and balance both my extracurriculars and social life. This did work for the first part of the year. But by around November, I felt exhausted. My grades dropped a little, but I was confident I could get them back up by the end of the semester. 
Then came winter break, which was pretty terrible. I studied like crazy over break, because I had my first AP mock exam, for World History— the week school started again! This resulted in no relaxation during my week off. So even after that mock was finally over, I was so tired. I had minimal motivation to study, and desperately needed a break from everything: my classes, toxic kids at school, and the depressing environment of the airport shaped building we called school. 
Unfortunately, this burnout came at the worst possible time— second semester, when most of my clubs accelerated and more commitment was required. I suddenly found myself tied down by a seemingly infinite amount of activities beyond school: basketball and debate tournaments, club meetings, and the scramble to get leadership positions. 
I desperately attempted to find outlets to deal with my jam packed schedule. And I luckily succeeded. I tried to do things I enjoyed more often, and this meant investing myself in clubs, such as: MUN, debate, and Amnesty. I loved participating in these activities! So whenever I needed a break from my busy life, I did work for these clubs.
Opening up myself to participating in these activities made school slightly more bearable. History class also became an outlet, as I loved the subject, my teacher, and the people in my class. I also decided to not compromise time with my friends as much—I went to more concerts, parties, and just talked to the people closest to me more often. This also made me realize something very valuable— although school is important, I could not allow it to consume me. 
Through these methods, school got better. Doing more things I loved to do resulted in a higher level of productivity, and this got me through exams.
AP exams were beyond terrifying, and I even had exams for other classes (which I had barely studied for).  Math was the worst of them all, because it is single-handedly my LEAST favorite subject. And even though math was by far my worst grade, I was still proud of myself for making it through the class. I knew I did my best to study, and therefore would be content with whatever result I received. 
After that, spending a week in Greece with my friends was the best of all. Although I complain about my rich international school, I am grateful I am able to travel to such amazing locations. It was the perfect cool off after a tough school year, which I could not have managed without my outlets.  I know I’ve rambled on about various things, but if you take away one thing from this article, it should be this: Don’t let academics consume you. 
Find your outlets, find things that make you happy.
https://fiveable.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/emotional-outlet-39944020-287x300.png
⚡ Want to hear more stories from stellar sophomores? Read: 
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