Ride of a lifetime
José Luis Salinas, 11°
Keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times
The last few years of high school are a struggle for us all. We are filled with doubt and uncertainty and we struggle to find our worth. We forget how much we’ve already been through, how much land we’ve already conquered, we get too caught up in what’s to come and forget to take a pause, breathe it all in, reap what we’ve sown, and be grateful for the opportunities we’ve taken for granted. For the first time in our lives, we’re gonna make a decision that’s entirely up to us, a decision that is a diametral reflection of what we’ve worked for the past decade. For all of us, this is a scary thought to think.
I’m a junior in high school and I was just returned my SAT scores. To say the least they disheartened me and every single one of my fellow test-takers. We all got around 1300, and despite it not being a bad score, the accumulation of our frustrations won’t let us see any better. I have a solid GPA, I’ve pretty much waltzed my way through high school, ever so nonchalant, and this had never been a factor of worry. But for some time now, particularly the 11th grade I’ve had this unshakeable idea in my head, that I do terribly in school and no college will ever take me. I have to gather myself for several minutes, look at the red ink on my papers, the warm support of my teachers and my worth, and tell myself, “Hey, you’re doing just fine”. Of course, there are things I could do better, mastering the art of procrastination has to stop being something that brings me pride, I’m virtually the most disorganized person I know, and have a painfully effervescent and shifting mind. But in the end, I know that I’m doing okay because I feel okay. The future will take me wherever it does, and it will be the right place for me, the same goes for you. Just withdraw yourself from your situation and headspace right now and know that in the end, you want to wind up in a college that embraces your faults and will allow you to learn and grow from them.
You should also know that this ongoing myth about a junior year is complete baloney. It’s not a difficult year, you just expose yourself to a wider variety of topics and studies you had not fully explored, and if you’re anything like me, whatever it is you dislike even in the slightest bit you will hate. I took Pre-AP Spanish, Pre-AP Pre-Calculus, AP English, and AP Physics this year. I have a profound appreciation for language, why we say the things we do, the impact of our words, and understanding and empathizing with other ways of thinking. On the other hand, I do not have a profound appreciation for Kepler’s Laws, Hooke’s Law, kinematics, or anything physics related. At the same time, I’m strongly disinclined towards matrixes, the unit circle and trigonometric functions. My lack of success in the latter two courses, however, didn’t come from my aversion towards them, it came from my stubbornness to not do things I didn’t enjoy. That’s where you have to make it better, come into the Junior year with an open mind, and at least five things I try, even if they won’t bring you joy, you’ll learn valuable skills from it. Read your physics textbook, read your pre-calc assignments, Khan Academy videos the morning of the test will not make up for a month’s worth of reading and exercises. I needed someone to tell me at the start of this year to grow up and stop being such a whiny little prick, no one did, so that’s what I’m here for.
Either way, I know that things will be fine. You just have to trust yourself a bit, you’re not nearly as self-destructive as you think. If you need a 4.0 GPA and 1600 on your SAT to get where you want to go, but you’re miserable along the ride, I strongly suggest you reevaluate your priorities. If you’re meant to be somewhere you’ll know, and they’ll know, too. Just do your best, show that you care, show that you’re trying to grow, and try and help others. Reach out to me if you ever have questions on literally anything, I’m obsessive with my research and I will get you an answer. Just know that all the best answers you can get, cannot be provided by Google, so search yourself instead.