BALANCING THE DEMANDS OF A RISING SENIOR
High school students, like me, face a precarious situation in the summer between junior and senior year; they often must choose between relaxation and résumé building.
Junior year is generally accepted as the “most stressful year of high school.” Ideally, students could use the summer following junior year as a recovery period, as an opportunity to relax after months of madness and before a senior year that promises much of the same. But this final summer before high school graduation also represents the student’s last chance to bolster their résumé for an application process that is growing increasingly competitive and demanding of impressive extracurricular activities.
My summer will no doubt feature some relaxation. Some degree of recuperating is absolutely necessary after junior year in high school, the year when college angst begins (perhaps prematurely) and stress reaches its peak. Junior year is a swirl of tests and assessments. Students must balance their rigorous and abundant schoolwork with SAT and ACT preparation and AP tests, all while advisors remind us why we are under-qualified for the colleges we are interested in. Eleventh grade really is rife with tension, and the post-junior summer represents a welcome respite from the fretful school year.
Like every other high school junior, however, I am anxious about the imminent college application process, when my grades and scores, along with my extracurricular résumé, will be put under the proverbial microscope. The relaxation can only go so far.
I will be touring colleges with my wellintentioned but overzealous parents to start the summer. Visiting a school is the best way to gauge whether it is a good fit. And with the uncertainty of college admissions, I will most likely be applying to a lot of schools, and will thus be visiting a lot of colleges. My college tour this summer begins in the Northeast. Then my parents and I will head to the Midwest, where we will look at more schools in the seemingly endless college search process. And that is only week one.
I will also be playing lacrosse with my club team for the first few weeks of the summer. For me, playing lacrosse is pure joy. Although I will be attending frequent practices and traveling to weekend tournaments, all of which begin before school even ends, I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for anything. The friendships made and lessons learned over the past few years have been invaluable. Participation in the college recruitment process can add a stressful component to the game, but I try my best to keep that in perspective. When I was in seventh grade, I emailed a college coach and told him about my aspirations to play collegiate lacrosse. I asked him for advice. He told me to keep having fun with the sport, and that is what I have done.
And, of course, I must also cover the extracurricular portion of the summer. I am very interested in studying finance in college, and I think it’s important to get experience in the financial realm before really deciding if that is what I want to study in college and beyond. I was fortunate enough to procure an internship at a financial firm in New York City, where I will be assisting and observing the work of the firm. It is a great opportunity to gain work experience and should also help me determine if finance is really the path I want to pursue in college. The internship is a tremendous opportunity that I am looking forward to, but it will certainly be rigorous. The commute to and from New York City on top of the eight-hour workday will be a large time commitment. I fear I might have to wake up before 7 a.m., which is not an easy feat for a high school student.
Finally, in August, I will truly be relaxing with my family on our end-of-summer vacation to Maine. I will hike and enjoy spectacular views. I will breathe fresh air and eat amazing meals, all the while knowing that college applications are waiting upon my return home.
The summer in between junior and senior year of high school is all about balance. For me that means balancing athletics and extracurricular interests with revitalization after a taxing junior year, and before an even more demanding senior year. The post-junior summer is something of a paradox, but it is important to stay calm and balanced in preparation for a senior first semester that promises to be perdition.
Northern Valley Regional High School,