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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Utopia or Dystopia? The hidden history of Bay Area cults
Utopia or Dystopia? The hidden history of Bay Area cults
Linnea Koblik and Tallulah Knill AllenJuly 12, 2024

Silhouetted against the sweeping landscapes of the Bay and the Marin Headlands, the Bay Area is well known for its position in the counterculture...

Public protests and perspectives
Public protests and perspectives
Ava Stephens, Gabriella Rouas, Aanika Sawhney, Nadia Massoumi and Grace GehrmanJune 29, 2024

Reflejando otra vez con los ELD seniors
Reflejando otra vez con los ELD seniors
Ava CarlsonJune 27, 2024

El año pasado, tuve la oportunidad de hablar con estudiantes del grado 12 en la clase de English Language Development (ELD) sobre sus experiencias...

A letter to sophomores: how to run next year’s marathon

Are you a sophomore excited for your junior year? Are you going to college? Have you taken the SAT? Where are you applying? What’s your GPA? How many APs are you in? Answer quickly because soon the answers to these questions will matter more than your interests and favorite foods. Unfortunately, life didn’t end when you got a D on your AP World History test, and neither did the aching pain of failure. To my beloved sophomores, this is just the beginning.
As the new year begins, you’ve probably already decided on your classes. Beyond the validating expressions of adults when you tell them you are taking five AP classes your junior year, I’d like to inform you that taking a class that will sacrifice your happiness is not worth the approval. You’ve probably heard this from siblings or counselors before, but you don’t care because you are diligent and hard-working; oh, and you scored well on the PSAT.
As a victim of the “immune to burnout” mentality, I also went into my junior year with high aspirations of success. My unrealistic expectations quickly vanished beneath a pile of AP textbooks and worksheets, along with my passion for guitar, running and cooking. Once reality hit me, I became a shell of who I used to be: a girl with an intense love for learning. My mind became clouded with constant anxiety, fueled by the competitiveness of my honor-roll classmates and regret for not studying every waking second of my being.
From day to night (and night to day), I spent hours memorizing 50 different fungal species, only to see a bright red 72 percent on my BIOL 110 test paper the following week. You may be deeply passionate about biology and feel inspired by cordyceps (what even are those?) so don’t be scared to live your truth through intensely rigorous science classes. But if you hate science, don’t take AP Chemistry because it looks like you “challenged yourself” on your college application. Remember that to “challenge yourself” means to take difficult classes that inspire your interests and not to drag yourself into burnout.

Illustration by Ava Stephens

Once you’ve hit burnout, which, in the case of an aggressive overachiever like me, is inevitable, you will feel like you are just trying to finish a marathon. You may start strong, feeling like you can hold your pace for an eternity, but you can’t. Towards your final lap, you will be fatigued, dehydrated and cramped; the finish line will look like it could never come close enough. Dear sophomores, junior year is your final lap. Although it’s not your last stretch, considering you still have senior year ahead, it’s the part of the race where you will hit the wall and suffer the most. Don’t succumb to the lack of motivation and spirit that characterizes the end of a year of exhaustion. Junioritis is a disease, but luckily, it’s preventable.

I am by no means attempting to discourage you from stretching your limits. This year, I decided to attempt AP Statistics, which led me to open my interests to data analysis and inferential statistics. I would have never become a statistics nerd if I hadn’t sat in my counselor’s office on the first day of school and begged for the classroom to have one more desk. All I’m saying is this: hold your passions closely to your heart. If you are the same diligent and hard-working sophomore, aspirational enough to sign up for those AP classes, you will have a bright future; just make sure not to kill your dreams before they can come true.

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About the Contributor
Alana Leifer
Alana Leifer, Copy Editor
Alana Leifer is a junior and a copy editor for the Redwood Bark. She enjoys running, spending time with her friends, and traveling.