Dear Junior Year,
It is easy to call you one of my closest friends. You have seen me at my highest of highs and lowest of lows. You've directed me to -- yet prevented me from -- having fun. And you have never -- no matter how hard I've tried -- let me forget that you are always present.
I remember years ago wanting nothing more than to be 16. Oh, how wonderful 16 looked in the movies. Well, the movies lied, Junior Year, because you are not quite so glamorous. The cafeteria isn't exactly The Four Seasons. Gym class has me actually break an occasional sweat when it's, like, gym class (and further makes me ponder the perfection of Cher Horowitz and Regina George). Students can't fabricate insane stories to get them excused from homework and there are not enough kids in my school to throw a Project-X level party if I wanted to.
Many students view you as a grenade. One faulty step -- one bad grade -- and their lives are over. While no one has physically died from getting a C, no one has been exactly elated either.
I watch you turn years of bliss into months of stress. No amount of makeup can cover the bags under my eyes after you keep me up at night. (It takes a certain type of person to pull off the roll-out-of-bed-chic look.) While studying for midterms, fighting to keep my eyes open, I kept debating between you fail those midterms tomorrow, then you fail the courses and you won't get into college and will work at McDonalds and never find the perfect husband and will die alone serving rubbery burgers, still living in your parents' basement with 33 cats... and wow I don't care anymore. Sleep sounds a hell of a lot better than quantum mechanics.
The other day my AP English teacher discussed our course selection for senior year. Walking into class that day, it was evident that my highly competitive and intellectually gifted peers were planning on taking AP Everything next year. My teacher went on to tell us how senior year is our last year ever (hopefully) living at home, under the roof and money of our parents, without any true responsibility. These are some of the easiest and best days of our lives. Do we seriously want to spend the last year we will ever have together cramming for AP exams and writing essays? I fear the competition amongst my peers and myself make us forget how truly amazing life can be at the age of 16.
Junior Year, I'm blaming you for this fear. I'm sorry. I do enjoy skipping lunch periods to get a head start on homework. And I do wildly appreciate how resilient you have made me, being able to bounce back after a bad grade. And please, I beg you, do not worry about the five extra hours a week of SAT work. I didn't want to go to that party anyway.
Maybe I'm exaggerating just a little. You have been great to me in some aspects. For example, you have made me see who my real friends are: coffee and Kahn Academy. You have provided me with the rudest of awakenings into the real world and have shown me that in order to play hard, I must work hard. So for that, I must thank you.
As much fun as it's been, in a few months I must leave you for the more fun Senior Year. Don't take it personally; it's not you, it's me... Well maybe it is a little bit you...
torturing teaching the next class.
Class of 2015