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Rylie Walsh

The Junior Year Journals

This time last spring, I wrote an article about my sophomore year of college. The year before that, I did the same thing – just the freshman year version. So, as part of my little self-made tradition, another school year ending means writing another article all about it! And to anyone who has actually read these each year: a) that is literally SO nice of you and b) thanks for sticking with me. So…junior year. Fifteenth grade. The last two semesters before our graduation year (which may or may not still be slapped on our Instagram bios). Obviously, these past two or three semesters were not what we expected whatsoever, but the important thing is that we finally made it through.I know I mentioned this in my article from last May, but sophomore and junior year are both the “middle years” of college. They just sort of go together. Maybe we won’t remember this time as vividly as our freshman or senior years in the long run, but the middle is still really important. Why? Because these are the times we fully get the hang of college while also exploring what we want to do once we leave. Well, we’ve made it through the middle…and in a pandemic, too. To bring back that old expression about college that my dad taught me: “Freshman know nothing and know they know nothing, sophomores know something but think they know nothing, juniors know something but think they know everything, & seniors know everything and know they know everything.” I think it’s safe to say that the above line (the one about juniors) has been proved to be completely and utterly wrong. Maybe it was accurate before, but COVID-19 definitely threw us for a loop. No one could’ve foreseen a global pandemic coming, after all. The Zoom lectures, online discussion boards, and doing school away from school were all things that were entirely new to most of us this year. 
Regardless of how these unique past semesters played out for you, I can guarantee that you learned something about yourself or others by the end of it all. I’ll be honest, everyone’s experiences this year were probably so different depending on where you were living and what you were doing (whether that was school, work, taking a semester off, etc.), so I know all of our ‘big takeaways’ and lessons won’t necessarily be the same. At the end of the day, I think one little lesson that we alllll ultimately learned as juniors is the importance of just doing you. Everyone’s words, actions, and opinions about how to live life during our current COVID crisis can get to be very overwhelming at times; it kinda feels like we just can’t ever win or make anyone happy right now! But, it’s important to remember that the only person you’re in charge of is yourself. And that you and your happiness should always be your top priority. I said something similar in last year’s article, but I’ll leave you with this: congratulations! We’re over halfway done with college. However junior year played out for you, it’s important to reflect on what you loved and what you didn’t, so you can make the changes needed to set yourself up for a successful senior year.  So, here’s to you class of 2022 (or whatever your TBD grad year is) three down, one more to go!
Rylie Walsh is a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she earned her degree in Communication Studies and English! She was President of Her Campus LMU for the 2021-22 school year and is also a Her Campus National Writer. When she's not reading, writing, or working, you can find her hanging out with friends, SoulCycling, or enjoying her all time favorite dessert: a Pressed freeze.
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