The Daydreamer

Dear juniors, 

Last year was a wild ride. I cannot summarize the junior year experience in its entirety, but it was one that I was deeply immersed in through the highs and lows. 

My mantra for junior year was completion. It meant that I did whatever it took to succeed, even if it meant sacrificing my happiness. In between passing periods, I would work on my homework for the next day. I would spend my lunch time, which should have been spent catching up with friends who also had equally busy schedules, going to the library to study math. Everything was centered around school, so I burned myself out and came back home entirely exhausted every day. I knew that I struggled with a work-life balance, but I did not know how to solve my problems. I had ended up in a positive feedback loop (an AP Biology concept that did not help with my dilemma), where my choices made me fall into an ever growing hole of work.

Junior year was one of ups and downs, but through it I learned more about myself and how to be confident and collected in my own abilities. (Illustration by Karuna Chandran)

Soon, I realized that even when I took breaks, I never truly enjoyed my time off because all I could think about was the ever-growing list of things I had to do. I was never entirely checked out, but I was never one hundred percent plugged in either. I realized that if I was going to be a happy, content person, I had to think about things slightly differently. 

The next time I took a break, I completely checked out. I tried not to engage in activities that I knew I would be stuck on. Instead, I did self-care routines like reading, meditation and piano. I let myself take the time I needed without guilt, so that when I was working, I was able to focus on the task at hand.

Another misconception I had junior year was the feeling that I was never doing enough. Even when I was juggling classes and moving from activity to activity, it took a while for me to reconcile that there would always be someone who was doing more than I was. I felt like I was not at a college’s standard, that because I did not take a certain class, I may not get accepted into a university. There was always a lingering feeling of regret that I was not meeting my potential. However, when I took a real long look at my workload, I always ended up at the conclusion that there was absolutely no way I could have fit anything else in. I knew that I had made a choice that suited my needs and I had to accept that. I had to learn to be satisfied with the decisions I had made for my well being.

The final advice I give to all juniors is to appreciate the knowledge and growth you will gain over the year. There were rough patches for sure (AP Test season, I am thinking about you) and times when the end felt like a fuzzy cloud in the distance, almost tangible but just out of reach, but I loved the classes I took and the people I met. I felt that our entire class of 2023 was united by this shared experience, that we would come out of it stronger than ever.


Karuna (recent junior on the other side of it)