The Student News Site of NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

The iNews Network

The Student News Site of NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

The Student News Site of NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

Dear iSchool juniors: You will be okay

Photo taken outside of 506 (the college office)

Junior year is when you can finally take AP classes; whether you choose to take one or not, this year has been ROUGH. With all the required classes, extracurriculars, and college preparation, it hasn’t been the best year to be in high school. Nevertheless, we’ve made it halfway through the year, so here are ways to prepare for the rest of the year, and proof that you can do it!

Managing Stress and Mental Health

This is the year when thousands of different colleges are emailing you, family members are bombarding you with college questions, expectations are falling onto you and it seems like everyone is doing better than you at college prep. Most of the time, they’re feeling exactly like you are, and there isn’t better or worse in the college processes, as long as you’re doing something, that’s enough. Nevertheless, it’s easy to get consumed by these thoughts, which then translate into stress, anxiety, and sadness.

There’s a poster in the girls’ bathroom with tips on managing stress, and although most people don’t look at it for more than 10 seconds, I think it’s an important reminder to check in with yourself when things get too difficult. According to the CDC, some of the symptoms of stress are “Disbelief, feelings of fear, shock, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, frustration, changes in appetite, energy, desires and interests, difficulty sleeping or nightmares, concentrating and making decisions, and physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes,” If you notice any of these things or feel different overall, take a break or reach out. It’s important to know when to step back and take time for yourself, junior year is important but not more than your well-being.

Talk to someone if it gets too overwhelming, it can be a friend, family member, or anyone else you can trust. Ms.Colon, Ms. Velasquez, and Ms. Almonte always have their doors and ears open as well!

What Should I Do This Summer For College?!??!

As a Junior myself, it was hard to answer this question because I don’t know what colleges are looking for but after a short walk to 508 (a.k.a The College Office), our very own Ms. Beck was able to help me!

Here’s what she recommended: “Doing a couple of things this summer in different areas. There’s no one right answer on what to do, you could get a job, you could take a free CUNY college now class, you could babysit your neighbors, travel with your family, there are so many things you could do. I would try to do a couple of different things to develop different experiences.”

It sounds like any kind of experience would be beneficial for college, but don’t get clouded with what will look good on a college application, do something you’re passionate about and genuinely interested in. Trust me (as a two-time summer boarding school student), I know that spending a summer doing something you hate will just make for a bad summer, not a stronger application.

College Prep:

In the last few months of Junior year, you will start to delve deeper into the college process and although there are probably a lot of emotions to come with it, this is what Ms. Beck says you should keep in mind:

“This is a time when organization becomes important, at the same time it’s a really exciting time because it’s all to help you figure out what your next step is so it’s a lot of reflection, college trips, college visits, thinking about your next step.”

Google Calendar might need to become your new best friend, or if you’re more old-fashioned, a regular paper pen planner would work too. Once you have everything planned out, make a list of colleges you’re interested in. There are a lot of sources on the CollegeBoard website that can help you create a college list based on your interests. After you’ve made a list, check what days you’re free and willing to go down to the college to take a tour. You never know what the ambiance is until you see it yourself.

Ms. Beck says, “an important time to be open to new things, new ideas, ways we’ve changed, and grown, and not necessarily what we’ve always thought we would do.”

In the classroom, this means taking classes that you might have been wary of before (you might find out you love love love the subject!) and reevaluating the majors or interests that you were interested in the past. Being open also extends beyond the classroom -try new foods, talk to people you haven’t spoken to yet, and explore every aspect of your life..

Living Proof!

Junior year will continue to be hard, exciting, and confusing all at the same time, but there is a happy ending.

Don’t just take my word for it though; current senior and iNews Lead Copy Editor Gianna Jean-Pierre this is what she reported on her junior year: “for the most part, was okay.”

The classes she took had an influence on how her year turned out: “I was taking AP Language and Composition, which was a pretty interesting class; I was also taking AP Calculus which was kind of tough, so I think in terms of course work it was sort of difficult.”

Aside from coursework, she was “balancing extracurriculars, and [she] think[s] that could get kind of difficult sometimes.” Overall, finding time to balance outside activities while trying to maintain grades was her greatest challenge.

To keep her pushing for her junior year she kept in mind the “better things that were coming in the future.” Better things did come: she is going to Columbia University next year (Go Lions!).

Take Gianna as living proof that all the trials and tribulations of junior year will only make you a better student and person, and of course, that there is a finish line.

Final Note

This article wasn’t made to scare anyone about the months to come, but rather to help anyone who feels overwhelmed by all the information, standardized tests, and various application processes thrown at them. There are a total of 100 iSchool juniors who feel similar to you. Talk to them, be open, and enter senior year ready to take down the college process!!

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