Throughout all the interviews I have done, I’ve noticed one commonality among them: “junior year was HARD!” And honestly, junior year of high school was hard for almost everyone I knew. It was the year APs begin to creep up, the year that one begins to search for college, and the year the responsibilities, such as driving a car or getting a job, begin to hit you like a ton of bricks. However, as I continue to reflect on years past, I begin to realize that high school years, freshman through senior, where not that different from that of my college years.
Freshman Year: The Year of Innocence
When I was in high school, my freshman year consisted of a lot of Babe-caught-in-the-headlights moments. I didn’t really know much about how to study for my classes let alone how to navigate the five flights of stairs at my school. At first, freshman year of college was kind of the same. I had to figure out how to register for classes, find which path from the Botetourt dorms was the fastest to Washington Hall for a 9am class, and discover ways to make sure I didn’t spend all my Flex Points on Quiznos my firs t week here. However, from the minute I stepped on campus, I didn’t have to actually find all these answers alone. I had everyone from my Orientation Aids and RA to upperclassmen friends I made throughout the year, guiding me through all of these obstacles and more.
Sophomore Year: The Year of Drama
Tenth grade in high school seemed to be the year of hormones and hissy fits. This was the year when tension ran high and friendships were tested. In college, the term “sophomore slump” could be heard: the idea of because you’re no longer the baby, you were set free on your own without the attention anymore. I guess that was a bit true, to an extent, but then the challenge was to then try and make it on your own. I would say that sophomore year at W&M for me was more the Year of Discovery. Yes, I no longer had the upperclassmen constantly there to give me advice, but I also no longer needed it. It was my time to make mistakes and figure out for myself what I wanted to major in and pursue.
Junior Year: The Year of Hard Work
Like I stated earlier, high school and college junior years have been years of hard work. Last year, I wrote more papers and did more research than I have ever had to do until that point. I was definitely tested, and I believe that I survived. Most W&M students come here because they want that academic challenge, and junior year more then delivered. However, I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way because I think it better prepared me for the years to come.
Senior Year: The Year of Leadership
My senior year of high school was by far my favorite. It was not only my “last hurrah” with my friends, but also my opportunity to stand out and shine. That year I became pretty close with some freshmen, and guided them like I had been guided. I hope that this coming year I will be able to do the same.
I guess my word of advice to those who are still in high school: take these descriptions with a grain of salt. High school and college experiences are different for everyone, but I hope that most will try and use their last year as the chance to give back and help the ones who will be taking your place. That is what I hope to accomplish this summer at the admissions office, and what I hope to continue to do this coming school year.