Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Summer of Significance

Junior year of high school is notorious for being the year in which everyone's life takes a dramatic swing in a brand new direction. Academics suddenly become much more intense, the list of responsibilities lengthens and people's true colors start to show. I've heard the horror stores of what lays ahead for me time and time again, but I've never fully believed them until now. This summer, as I make the transition from sophomore to junior year, the huge jump is becoming increasingly evident.

One of the largest-scale changes that I've noticed is that people now have a greater sense of their independence. Suddenly, all of the people I have watched grow up around me are making purchases with their very own credit cards, and caravanning around town in their very own brand new cars. I've found that it's now much easier to make choices on your own, and I really feel like I am growing up.

There is, however, a price to pay for this newfound independence. It's almost impossible to head towards adulthood without a little extra cash in your pocket, and my classmates and I have definitely realized that.

I must admit I was a little nervous when I applied for a job as a summer camp counselor at the end of this year. For the past six years, I had attended a sleep-away camp in North Carolina, so I was used to being a camper and spending the summer goofing off with my friends. My friends were shocked when I told them I was finally making a change in my life and accepting new responsibilities. I was convinced the change was going to be a huge mistake until my first day of work this summer. As it turns out, making the jump was the best decision I ever made. I made so many new friends who are completely different than the people I’m used to, but it’s a refreshing adjustment. My campers are absolutely adorable, and they give me a totally new perspective on life. Even better, I have a lot more authority and have learned a great deal about leadership skills, which I know will help me throughout my life.

Now, it seems like I can't go anywhere without seeing somebody I know working. All of the local supermarkets and yogurt shops have been invaded by teenagers looking for money to fill their gas tanks. It's good to know that my generation can step up when needed.

Of course, the one change I actually did see coming this year is already beginning to show. This summer for the first time in my life, I have to do extensive work to prepare myself for the upcoming school year, and I already feel swamped. I'm signed up for three AP classes next year, and I'm beginning to wonder what I got myself into. I have no idea how to cope with it, and I have a feeling it's going to get much worse.

There have definitely been tons of changes for me this summer (and the list keeps on growing) but most of them have been nothing but helpful. At this point, I'm welcoming eleventh grade AND its changes with open arms, because I can't wait to see what else is in store for me.

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