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Lorrie Lynn: Second-semester-eleventh-year-blues

Credit: Lorrie Lynn. Used with permission.

Well here we are, juniors, in the midst of what I call the second-semester-eleventh-year-blues.

We’re signing up for SATs and ACTs and AP tests left and right, scrambling for all the community service opportunities we can get, applying for summer jobs and internships, and basically just doing anything and everything we can that can go on our college applications and single us out as the most bright, philanthropic and promising scholars of the Class of 2014.

I had heard of this frenzy from older friends and thought that, of course, it was a big deal, but honestly in comparison to what I realize now, I definitely didn’t expect this much. And even though the whole year has been more stressful than ever before, it’s reached an entirely new level.

Suddenly everything seems to be overly in-your-face and discouraging. As I continuously research my dream schools and their acceptance rates, the selectivity percentages that once promisingly cheered motivational sayings at me now silently slide their glasses down their noses and raise their eyebrows, just begging me to question them (in a surprisingly similar fashion to my mother).

For every answer I can’t figure out on an APUSH exam, I start to see grade point averages swimming around over the paper, blurring all possible answers and leaving me panicking about my future and completely forgetting who exactly voted for William Jennings Bryan in the election of 1896.

I know I’m not entirely alone in this either; one of my teachers has even pointed out that the vibe she gets from us (the junior class) stresses her out more than any class she’s had previously.

I guess different classes become known for certain things, and that the Class of 2014 apparently will be associated with probable ulcers and knees bouncing of nervous anticipation. When I’m feeling especially optimistic I tell myself that this can only lead to contented smiles as we pose in cap and gown with our diplomas and successful futures resulting from hard work and determination… Right, guys?

It’s so cliché, but now that we’re getting into second semester, it’s really hitting me that there’s not much time left; it’s all so, so real. Well, it always was, but I think that seeing our elder friends nailing down exactly where they will be this fall is probably the biggest factor in our sudden realization that we’ll have those decisions to make all too soon.

In a few short months it’ll be us applying for college. We’ll be the ones enjoying seniority, special rallies with sparkling apple cider (hopefully), and the ability to say that we have senioritis without feeling guilty for using the term when it’s not really ours to use.

So I suppose for now the most we can do is just keep chugging along, and keep our focus on not just what is now, but what is to come. Too much focus on the current prevents us from maturing and too much focus on the future prevents us from making the current enough to get us there. It’s a delicate balance, but we can do it — after all, everyone else has.

That’s really what we need to remember: this is a rite of passage, and as agonizing as it feels now, we can do it. It’ll be our time soon enough, and when it is, we want to be ready to enjoy it and really be satisfied with how we spent the time preparing for it. Let’s keep this in mind, so hopefully this last part of junior year won’t be too unbearable.

When summer comes and goes and college applications are completed and sent away and finally as we pack all of our worldly possessions up away for college, we’ll realize we have something to be proud of.

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Lorrie Lynn: Second-semester-eleventh-year-blues