An Open Letter to Sophomores

By Dana Zamat

Dear Sophomores,
The days are getting warmer, the nights are getting shorter, and you know what that means: you are one step closer to finishing sophomore year! Trust me, I know transitioning to become a junior is a little bit intimidating to think about, but each and every year, juniors survive their third year of high school, so I am confident that you can too. Junior year can seem a bit scary, so here’s my simple advice, coming from an almost graduated junior:

  • Do your homework as soon as possible. Now I know this seems so obvious, but it truly does help you manage your time better. Junior year is full of deadlines and essays and projects and tests and quizzes, but the more work you eliminate sooner, the better.
  • Create time for yourself. One of the hardest parts of junior year is what feels like the endless loads of work, so simply leaving half an hour everyday after school to be on your phone or computer is ideal. Watching your favorite TV show, or snapchatting your friends will not only improve your being mentally, but will also help you work more efficiently, as you will be less inclined to look at your phone when you’re doing work, as you have spent 30 minutes already on it.
  • To each their own. Now, I totally understand that Byram Hills is a school of overachievers, but I also know talking about college and test scores can be anxiety provoking, so don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. You are your own person, and you have your own strengths and weaknesses. Your downfalls do not define you.
  • Create a schedule for Standardized Testing. Whether this means the ACT/SAT tests or the APs, the best approach to these tests is creating a study schedule at least a month before the test. Being very organized and reviewing the curriculum long before the test will help to improve your scores. Additionally, on test day you will feel more confident about your abilities.
  • Don’t join clubs just to join clubs. Like I said before, I know Byram Hills students often join  a million different clubs, just to add it to their resume, but trust me: the clubs you will be most successful in are the clubs you are genuinely passionate about. I understand that extracurriculars look good for colleges, but the quality of work you are also doing for the club, far exceeds the importance of the quantity of clubs you are “a part of.”

These are just some pieces of advice that I have picked up as a junior. Obviously, each person has their own techniques of surviving school, but let me leave you with this: no matter what people may tell you, junior year is not as daunting as what others make it out to be. Sure it is harder than sophomore year, but sophomore year was also harder than freshmen year. Each year, you have survived and thrived, and I have full confidence you will survive and thrive next year. Good luck!