It’s been quite a ride on the academic roller coaster I've been strapped to for the last four years. Challenging myself in high school with Honors and AP classes was a path I decided to take even before freshman year started. However, I never knew what a jam-packed intellectual schedule would entail for years to come.
After two years of straight A’s and only a mild amount of struggling, junior year came swiftly. It was already time to study for the SAT for the whole summer, visit colleges, and sign up for AP tests. I became overwhelmed with tons of extracurricular activities and hours of homework and studying, not to mention cross country or track every day after school. I spent each night in my room with my head in a book and a pen in my hand. I had conquered yet another year—by far the worst yet—with just one “B” on my transcript. The summer swept in to save the day.
Or so I thought. More college visits and scholarship searches began, and the days of laying on the beach and swimming in the pool diminished at an exponential rate. September rolled around at maximum speed, bringing the start of senior year and college applications along with it. I experienced a huge reality check when I already had an AP Calculus 2 test on the second day of school, and my AP English summer assignment was not up to par with the teacher. Worry immediately set in as I scrambled to fit everything into my schedule. Homework was pushed to 2 o’clock in the morning because clubs and sports were so time consuming after school.
The lack of sleep crumbled my mental state. I began worrying constantly, having nightmares (in the little time that I did sleep) about specific exams taking place in my bedroom or receiving rejection letters from all of the colleges I applied to. After a dramatic anxiety attack in school, I took a step back. I began thinking, what is the point of all of this?
I mulled over the root cause of all of my anxiety and stress. Obviously, getting into a top-notch university is a dream that doesn't come easy. I then remembered the reason I wanted to try so hard in the first place. As a girl, with much of my motivation coming from Alice Paul and the Women’s Rights movement, becoming successful and influential would be an accomplishment on behalf of all women. I remembered that becoming a prosperous and well-educated woman is something worth every bit of hard work and determination. I hope to create a background for myself in Chemical Engineering (my prospective major) that will motivate younger women in high school to work to achieve their goals as well. Suddenly, a bit of the weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
When I look around at school, I see many intelligent, responsible, and involved young women with bright futures. The first 5 students in the class are actually all girls this year (one of them being me!) However, more young women should be striving for a higher potential for themselves. The first step is a rigorous high school education. In the future, I will use the skills that I have harnessed in school to help bring up other girls to the peak of the mountain with me.