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The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

Schwalen: The Lessons of Junior Year

Photo by Carmen Schwalen
The affirmation board reads, “Learning to Grow.” Learning to grow is one of the most important things you can do, along with learning to affirm qualities in yourself and others.

One may argue that junior year is one of the  most influential years of your high school career. It is in this year when you start to decide who you truly are and what you want in life. Whether it’s taking different classes in school, finding a job, or researching colleges, junior year is incredibly important to your future.

However, nothing with meaning is ever easy to achieve. It is an often seen trend when it comes to importance. The more important a thing is, the harder it may be to achieve.

This is typically said about junior year. Over a year ago, when I was a scared little sophomore reading about the horrors of junior year, I thought about how truly important it must be. With the amount of daunting tasks associated with junior year, from college visits to college applications, I have came to a conclusion.

The conclusion I landed on did not just come from experiencing junior year or anything in particular. It came from a collaboration of events and ideas that happened throughout this last year. From difficult classes, to walks in the park, good friends, and fights, every encounter I have experienced in this last year has taught me something important.

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Although, I must give a majority of credit to my journalism class. Without this class, I wouldn’t have learned an important lesson about myself and the people around me. I wouldn’t have grown in my love for law and ethics, and I certainly wouldn’t know how to conduct a stellar interview.

Journalism was important to my junior year, because it taught me lessons that I will continue to use in my life. Journalism showed me to be confident in my own thoughts and opinions. Journalism taught me to have important conversations with those around me. Journalism taught me to be me.

I think a breakthrough I had during my junior year can be credited to my journalism class. I used to care about what others had to say about my thoughts and my opinions. It used to bother me when people judged me for my own opinions and thoughts. During this last year, I worked hard to write things that mattered. I learned that if I think it is important, then, “There’s a story there,” as Mrs. Basinger would say.

Not only did I learn to be confident in my opinions, I learned how to become more confident as a person. I learned to keep your friends close, and that sometimes its important to create your own affirmations. I learned how to not rely on other people for validation in my own work. Journalism taught me how to create work that I was proud of.

On the topic of keeping your friends close, I learned that it is important to get along with everyone. I feel that, during high school, at times life can feel super lonely. You may have a large group of friends, and live in a large school, but none of it amounts to anything if you don’t have people you can truly trust.

Not only did Journalism show me how to be confident in myself, my opinions, and my work, but Journalism allowed me to build friendships that are more then just surface level.

Journalism also allowed me to reach out to my school and the people who attend ADM. Without journalism I wouldn’t have learned how to talk, and more importantly, listen to the people around me. I learned though Journalism that everyone around you is going through their own story, and every single story has the ability to change the world.

Journalism did more than just teach me lessons, it taught me to work on myself. Throughout the course of this year, I learned to broaden my horizons. I learned how to listen to people, more than I talk. I learned how to appreciate opposing opinions, and I learned how to value every story I come across.

While writing this story, I think back to the little sophomore who was terrified to start junior year. I think about all the negativity surrounding junior year. This leads me to think about growth.

As said in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Growth is “progressive development.” Whether it is the development of a flower, or a person, everything experiences growth. Both growth and change can be seen as scary, take it from someone who was terrified to start her junior year. But I have found that growth and change are both easier if you embrace it.

There is more in common with junior year and Journalism than one may think. The main similarity–both encourage growth.

I will be forever thankful at the fact that I was able to be a part of journalism for the school year of 2023-2024. This class and the lessons learned in it will have lasting impacts on my life.

For any current high school students who may be reading this, I highly encourage you to take News Journalism. If writing doesn’t float your boat,  I encourage you  to step outside of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself. Embrace the change, embrace the growth. Humans were not meant to stay stagnant, we were meant to grow.

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