Learning balance as a junior

by David Feng, Guest Writer

Junior year is nothing short of a balancing act. Many students consider their third year of high school the worst and most stressful year, and they are correct to an extent. More things are being dumped onto your plate than you can possibly consume. Classes are becoming increasingly difficult. The looming, dreadful presence of college applications are right on the horizon. But the truth often defies simplicity.

For me, it is all about approaching school with the right mindset. Going to school every day expecting the worst out of the “worst” year in school only exacerbates the stress. Instead, I prefer to perceive school through an opportunistic lens. More items on the to-do list mean more opportunities for self-improvement; harder classes mean more learning; college counseling every Tuesday in the second semester means a chance to better understand colleges – and yourself. Completing junior year with the mindset of simply surviving and receiving an “I Completed Junior Year” sticker after finals can cause a quick downward spiral. There isn’t just light at the end of the tunnel; the whole tunnel is illuminated and full of opportunities. All that’s needed is a happy, optimistic outlook.

Furthermore, I’ve found it pivotal to realize that there is more to life than academics and extracurriculars. At a rigorous environment like Harker, it is often easy to lose sight of what’s important, and I am not talking about that A+ in chemistry or being accepted into an exclusive summer program. I’m talking about simply having fun and doing whatever is most pleasurable. Personally, weekend bike rides, fishing trips, and even something as simple as watching the latest Marvel movie, listening to my favorite music, or hanging out with friends can go a long way in destressing and staying happy. The absolute worst thing to do is to become completely consumed by school.

I understand that walking on the balance beam is tough; after all, the fall down seems tumultuous and dangerous. But tripping and falling is not a problem. Everyone around you – teachers, friends, family – is there to catch you. Just get back on your feet, climb back on, and smile.