Breaking up with junior year


Sarah Barber

This was my vibe throughout the entire school year — a prime example of why I am ending this toxic relationship.

Dear junior year,

I didn’t listen.

I didn’t listen when my friends said taking eight classes with no lunch or study hall would be bad for me. I didn’t listen when they told me not to do speech, the mock election and the fall play all at once. I didn’t listen when they said that it would be too much.

But they were right. I should have listened because if I had, I wouldn’t have been running on three hours of sleep almost every day for the entirety of first semester. I wouldn’t have been forgetting to bring food to school because I was so preoccupied with my homework and extracurricular activities.

The bottom line is that it wasn’t you; it was me.

Even though you presented me with some of the most intense challenges of my life, junior year, I didn’t have to take them. But I did. I am the one who put myself in the position to be so stressed that I was falling asleep during the remainder of passing period as soon as I made it to my next class.

Despite all of the horrors you brought, I learned the most valuable lessons from you, junior year.

I learned not to bite off more than I can chew. I learned that my mental health is more important than my weighted GPA. But most of all I learned that I have people I can lean on for support when I feel like I’m drowning, because I wasn’t alone.

Junior year, I want to thank you. I want to express my gratitude for the simple fact that you’ve made me a better person than I was in August.

I know our journey isn’t over yet, and I expect I’ll still learn a lot in the last month of school, but I think it’s time that this relationship ends. Frankly, it’s toxic. Relationships can both be toxic and still cause growth in people, which is precisely what you’ve done for me.

This is why, junior year, I want you to learn from me. Know that there are some people who don’t know how to turn down challenges because they believe they have to be the best that they can be. Know that you have the power to make or break them — they’ll need your support.

Just go easy on the next ones. For me.