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To Current Juniors, From Current Seniors: Advice on Second Semester

You know what they say; junior year second semester is always the worst. Of course, one may beg to differ, but never mind that. It might not be the most difficult thing you must encounter in your life, but it definitely is a time in which a student has no choice but to be stressed out about not only academics but also maintaining a social life as well as getting enough sleep, whilst managing multiple extra curricular activities at the same time, and not to mention having to already think about college. Can it get any worse? Well, I don’t know about that, but there sure are ways to make the best of what’s headed towards you. Fear not, and keep your heads up high, juniors! Here are some ultimate tips and words of wisdom from seniors who have once been in your shoes. Let’s see what they have to say about enduring junior year second semester!

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“Try not to exert yourself with too many activities, and stay healthy! There is a certain limit to the amount of workload you can take, so give yourself some time to keep things in balance, and keep your condition up!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“Don’t let stress get to you, because if you’re regularly feeling hopeless and overwhelmed, it’ll be even harder to find the motivation to push through the semester.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Finish ur SAT Subject tests related to your AP courses in your junior year, or else you’ll have to struggle to remember the content in your senior year because you pushed it until the last minute.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“During junior second semester, it’s important to maintain your GPA. No matter what people tell you about standardized tests, although they are very important and you should finish them during first/second semesters, your GPA will be the main factor of your college application. To maintain it, start organizing your daily schedule so that you can stay on task. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made during junior first semester was not recording my class assignments on my calendar. If you write all assignments and test/quiz dates on a calendar or even a piece of paper, you will get better results. I’ve learned my lesson on that and got a higher GPA during my second semester! It’s all about not procrastinating and staying on task. You really have to get the hang of pushing yourself to do your assignments on the day that it was given, because once you become a senior it will benefit you in terms of doing college applications. You really don’t want to finish apps at the last minute!” – Emily Lee (‘17)

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Emily Lee (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“Teachers’ classrooms during auto are a great library alternative for those who want a quiet study hall. Plus, you can ask the teacher questions and even ask them to proofread work if they aren’t too busy.” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Talk to each other! Everybody’s pressured about their academic life and talking it out is the best way to relieve all your stress. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who feels pressured. It’ll help you to get through all hardships together, maybe even get a bit closer to them.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“I relied on what I loved, which was music and dance. Luckily, those things were included in the clubs that I led or participated in, so I was able to stay spirited in school.” – Stacy Jo (’17)

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Stacy Jo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“Try to do what you love in the midst of all those hard classes and long nights of studying! It makes going through junior year so much faster and more enjoyable, regardless of how high your scores on tests are. Don’t abandon an activity to simply study for something!” – Stacy Jo (’17)

“It’s a cliché, but don’t procrastinate. Just because you could pull off a last-minute all-nighter first semester doesn’t mean it will work again second semester! Also, attend college visits when you can. It’s never too early to start getting an idea of where you might want to apply next year :).” – Alex Shu (’17)

“Hang in there, you only have a year left! Have some fun, go on trips, make some valuable memories. You only have a year left to create some of the most memorable experiences in your high school career. You might get a little depressed sometimes, but always remember there are people around you who feel the same way. They will always be there to support you. Start your common app early. Please don’t procrastinate.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

“Ask your teachers for recommendation letters before it gets too late or they’ll get stressed.” – Nancy Koo (’17)

“Looking back at it now…it feels like a short period of time to just survive. There’s always light at the end of every tunnel. So as long as you remember that…don’t ever lose hope and hang in there. It’ll all be over soon.” – Scott Kim (’17)

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Nancy Koo (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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Scott Kim (’17) (PC: JD Choi ’18)

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“- It’s going to be tough if you leave things to the last minute. You will eventually not make it.

– Get your standardized tests done ASAP.

– Don’t forget that you’re going be applying to college. Go to college meetings during junior year. Going senior year isn’t helpful.

– Comparing yourself to others won’t get you anywhere.

– Don’t overdramatize your junior experience. Trust me, it’s not as hard as senior year first semester. Junior year is what you make of it.

– When you study, use the Ghibli piano soundtrack… It helps.

– Go to teachers for help. Stop wasting your time during autonomous block and go to those teachers.

– Utilize your resources: personally, videos on YouTube help[ed]. Especially for chemistry.

– Keeping your room clean can help you focus.

– Stop BSing your way through homework.

– Create an effective study group. This does not mean find a friend who will do everything for you.

– Making connections will help you memorize things better (ie: draw diagrams).

– No naps longer than 20 minutes.

– Already have the colleges you want to go to and write a couple of essays. Don’t write about why you are perfect. Colleges want personality (this can also be shown through the style in which you write it in). Also, just because it’s a top notch college doesn’t mean it’s your best fit. Moreover, watching vlogs of people who go to that specific college can help you understand the environment of the school.

– Get your teacher Recs. ASAP.

– Focus less on standardized tests during your summer. You can’t learn and magically improve your score. If you have been taking SATs for more than a year and your scores haven’t changed, stop.

– Know your priorities.

– Don’t get angry at those who have college consultants write their essays. They won’t get far in life. Getting into a good college isn’t everything.

– Don’t judge other people based on what college they are applying to. They have their reasons and you have yours.

– Don’t judge where people get in either. Not everyone is confident about college.

– Don’t let your parents force you to apply to a specific school. Just take it into consideration. If you don’t like it, don’t apply. It’s a waste of money.” – Grace Kim (’17)

Believe me, it does get better. Second semester just flies by, and you will find yourself sitting in the seniors’ section during pep rallies. Sooner or later, you’ll be walking down the aisle during the graduation ceremony, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. It’s important to pursue high achievement in academia, but don’t forget about the one and only high school experience you get. Try to find time to spend with your friends or your favorite teachers, seek help when you need to, and don’t pull all nighters – they don’t help. Good luck, and always know you can talk to upperclassmen when you’re in need of encouraging words.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image & Banners: Crescentia Jung (’19)

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