Junior year’s been confusing.
It’s over in a little more than three weeks, which still blows my mind. This year flew by. I don’t even know where it went: just a year ago, I was getting ready to embark on my three-month long Europe trip, and now a full year has gone by and I feel like it was just yesterday.
Throughout this entire year, I felt like I was in a weird funk. I wasn’t myself, not how I used to be, at least. It felt like I was wading in the dark for awhile, but I didn’t necessarily know what I was looking for. I kept up appearances – and I think I even tricked myself into thinking I had my stuff together most of the time – but to be honest, I don’t think I’ve found what I’m looking for. Part of me is attributing this confusion to coming back to the states after being abroad for three months, like, did it really change me? Is this extended reverse culture shock? I can only use my being abroad excuse for so long. Maybe I just need to face the fact that I really am in a transitional phase right now.
I’ve come to the realization that people are coming to me for advice now, and I should probably have things to tell underclassmen. I’ve given pretty good answers so far, but now that I’m thinking about it, what have I learned in my three years as an undergrad? What advice do I have to give that will help shape a freshman, sophomore’s time remaining? What can I say that will make them look forward to learning more?
My priorities are different now. I meet younger students and see my old self in them: curious, sheltered, and even a little naive. I think that’s when you know you’re not the person you were before. It makes me want to shake their shoulders and tell them to open their eyes because there is so much out there.
I hate how angsty I sound right now, but I’m really just shook by how much growth there seems to be in challenge. My classes were really hard this year, and I’ve been struggling. What used to be above-average grades are now transitioning into average, and even a few times, below. But there are so many other amazing things happening in my life that I can’t seem to justify to keep my grades at top-notch standards. Sometimes I really do feel like opportunities were lost because I had to stay in one too many nights to study for a test, and I really think I’m done doing that. Don’t get me wrong – school is still extremely important to me, but not just my classes: it’s about relationships and community-building, too.
And yeah, I was really good at maintaining my goals for the year for all of winter quarter, but then spring quarter happened and I barely R&Red – and it sucked. This past weekend was the first time in awhile where I got to breathe and have (almost) nothing on my Google Calendar. I watched Riverdale for three hours and it was awesome.
My proudest accomplishment? I think I helped a lot of people this year bring a lot of clarity into their lives. It sounds weird, but it feels really good to help other people. I love it. Giving advice and helping others reach their goals, especially when you know they have so much potential.
Was junior year the best year of college? No. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted all the time, but I think it was a realistic portrayal of post-college life. From here on out, I will have to continue learning how to juggle more things at a time and maybe even step my time management skills up a notch. I remember the days when I had a clear inbox; nowadays, I have to set aside time to answer all the emails I get. I must say that junior year has been my healthiest though: I’ve been sleeping a lot (6.5-8 hours every night!) and I haven’t caught any colds this year, so I’m pretty happy about that.
I’m excited about the things I accomplished this year. There were definitely some downs, but so many UPS! I think mostly every minute of hard work has paid off, and I know once I finish my last final, it’ll feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I’ve already scheduled some end-of-the-year plans with my friends to celebrate (they’re before my last final though, so, woops). I’m savoring every last bit of college because I’m graduating early from my senior year – what a thought.
How was your year? I’d love to know. And as always, thanks for reading.