Wrapping Up My Junior Year: Too Much For Too Little

⏱️  4 min read

written by

vera c

August 5, 2020

“Field Notes is a collection of articles curated by students and teachers from around the world detailing their academic experiences.”

There is always a time in the summer when you dread going back to school, but at the same time, there is so much anticipation and angst before the start of the school year that you end up telling yourself that you are in fact excited for school. A week before junior year, I was scrambling to finish summer assignments and I was already feeling the stress of supposedly the worst year of high school: junior year. With a 400 page book to read, an essay, supplementary readings, and half a biology textbook to study, I was so stressed out that I questioned how I could handle junior year. 

How would I be able to handle the year if I could not even manage to finish my summer assignments in time? Tennis tryouts were also still in session, so the stress of trying to make the team, and summer assignments was overwhelming. At the same time, I told myself that everyone around me was experiencing the same thing. All I wanted to do was go back in time to elementary school and enjoy life as I had before, not having to worry about anything. Unfortunately, life is not like that, and over the course of junior year, I learned to accept that I had to deal with life as it was, and to stop wishing for things that I simply could not achieve.  The first two quarters of junior year were stressful in that it took me too long to realize that I had taken on too much challenges too soon.  If I was not a strong student in science, why had I inserted myself into AP Biology? Why did I believe that I would be able to improve and work hard enough to achieve a grade that I was satisfied with?  During the first half of the year, I worked so hard that I did not think I could work harder than that. With essays to write every week and biology tests that were filled with almost nothing but technical content, I was working 24/7 with pretty much no breaks, sports after school, and extracurricular activities throughout the day. Every single test grade I had received reflected a failing grade, and I did everything in my power to try to improve my grades.

I went to my teacher for help, I studied every single day even if there was no test to study for.  I asked my friends for help, and I made sure I understood every single concept for a test. After weeks and even months passes with little to no improvement, I realized that maybe science was not for me. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, things don’t work out for you, and you have to accept it and move on. At that time, I mentally felt as if I was going to break.  I cried in the shower. I cried myself to sleep, and I locked myself in my room and continued to put myself down. Ultimately, I decided in order to save myself from this downward spiral that I felt I was in, I needed to drop the class and focus on both my mental state and all the other classes that were sacrificed because of AP Bio.

After I dropped AP Bio, life was so much easier, almost too easy and I always felt as if there was more I needed to do.  Of course, I still continued to get around 4-5 hours of sleep, and I still continued to feel as if I had no time to do anything. Yet I realized that although I enjoyed learning in my biology class because the information was interesting, there were more important things than grades.  My mental state was important, and this was not the first time I had experienced that downward spiral. I knew that since I dropped my hardest class, there was no excuse to not ace all my other classes since they were easier.

I had friends encourage me and talk me out of the depression of dropping out of the class.  If I had not had friends beside me to give me advice and give me what I needed, I would not be here now. It could have been so much worse, but with all these challenges, I learned so much more about what I was capable of, and how to handle life better in general. School is a learning experience, and I realized, in the end when I am 60 years old, who cares if I received an 80 on the Chemistry Regents?  Who cares if I got a B+ in one quarter of Regents Biology? 

It all matters within, and that is so important for students and adults as well to realize. No matter what, everyone needs to realize that everything is in their power to do what they want to do, and all they have to do is work hard and figure out what they’re best at. 

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