June 9, 2017

Hello there!  I'm back after taking a much longer break than I'd intended.  I dearly missed writing for this little corner of the Internet and sincerely hope that a six-month absence will never again be necessary. More on that subject will come at a later time, but for now, let's focus on two of my favorite topics: school and life lessons.

The American high school experience teaches many things besides the obvious STEM and humanities concepts.  After my completion of each year, I've reflected upon the broader life lessons that were highlighted during my academic experiences.  It took me quite a while to ponder my "Junior Lessons" because my junior year was the most difficult--and most rewarding--year yet.

Prep For A Day

1. Happiness is a choice, not a random event.
Ever heard the mantra, "You must choose your own happiness"?  It sounds idealistic, but it's true.  Each morning, you have to be bold enough to decide whether your day is going to be a happy one;  you cannot sit idly by and wait for happiness to drop in your lap.

2. Time management is the key to productivity.
Whether you are a student or a graduate, this much is true:  learn to manage your time effectively, and you've overcome an obstacle standing in the way of future productivity and success.

3. Work when your mind is clearest and most awake.
Because I am anything but a night owl, I quickly learned that attempting to finish any type of homework or studying after 8:30 PM was a lost cause;  this translated to adjusting my workload so that I could accomplish more during the morning.  Use this principle to reconsider your own study and work habits.

4. Embrace flexibility.
Before my junior year arrived, I had the luxury of being able to allocate ample time for completing assignments and studying for tests.  In other words, I was usually confident that I would be capable of completing each task in a meticulous, sequential manner, only finishing when the final product exceeded all expectations.  As this was certainly not the case during my junior year, I was forced to learn to be more flexible about the way I approached my to-do lists and to accept that completing tasks was ultimately more important than the sequence I took to complete them.

5. What you think is what you are--so think wisely.
Cultivate positive thoughts to become a more positive person.  In the same way, refute negative thoughts to avoid a negative outlook.

6. Learn the difference between what "must" be done and what "could" be done.
Perhaps the most difficult lesson for yours truly, learning to prioritize a to-do list is a vital skill for any time-crunched individual to adopt.  The sooner you differentiate between which tasks absolutely have to be completed and those which do not, the better.

7. Always keep a smile on your face.
Especially if you are surrounded by important teachers and mentors (also known as your tickets to helpful guidance and wonderful letters of recommendation), it's essential that you make an effort to look happy and engaged rather than upset or annoyed.  And if you are surrounded by your peers (especially those you dislike), a smile is the first defense against rumors and rude comments.

8. Don't waste precious time on people who are unwilling to dedicate time to you.
It seems like a simple lesson, but with the double-edged sword of social media (Instagram, I'm talking about you) playing such a large role in our lives, it's very easy to waste hours poring over the photos and comments of people who are unimportant aspects of our real lives.  Dedicate time to the people who matter most--the people who actively inspire and impact your life.

9. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Truly, there is an end to each obstacle and an exit to each tribulation;  best of all, you only need a tiny amount of courage to get there.

10. Know that you are capable of great things.
You'd be really surprised by how much you can accomplish when you set your mind to doing so.

Certainly, my junior year wasn't easy--but its difficult nature enabled me to grow and learn on a greater level.  If you are a rising junior, I wish you the best of luck (and if you are a rising freshman or sophomore, peruse my "Freshman Lessons" and "Sophomore Lessons" posts).

What lessons did you learn over the previous school year?



  1. Love these lessons (especially #4 and #6), Tori! Junior year was definitely a year of change for me (both academically and socially) and it is definitely tough but you did it! Best of luck on your senior year!


    1. Thanks for sharing your insight, Katie! I wish you the best of luck on beginning your college experience!

  2. Yay I'm glad you're back and posting! I love reading your blog. Best of luck next year! I can't wait to read more posts about school, books, and everything in between!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support, Angie!


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