When I went into my junior year of high school, I felt like I was going into battle. It was the year that I had been warned about- the hellish point of growing up, when you take the hardest AP classes, you get your driver’s license, you are expected to do more, BE more. I was so prepared for that dumpster fire of a year that it actually ended up much more docile than the mythical demon personification I had created in my mind.
So, I guess I was surprised when junior year of college slowly crept into my life without so much as a warning. Whether you’re a current junior, a been-there-done-that or the next in line, this article highlights some of the most relatable highs and lows of what I think has been the most interesting year at Notre Dame so far.
Half your friends are here, half your friends are gone.
Since junior year is the most common for study abroad programs, there’s a lot of time where the band isn’t back together. If you’re staying at ND for the full year, you get to see everyone in shifts but others have to come to the realization that a whole year will go by without dining hall dates and crazy SYR pictures. Instead, there’s some serious Instagram pic FOMO.
21st birthdays and the Inability to attend dorm parties
This year is an awkward transition time when it comes to how to spend your weekends. Suddenly it’s not cool to pack into a crowded dorm room for crappy drinks and stereotypical music. Instead, friends are turning 21 and shipping off to bars, leaving the youngest and those without fake IDs to find house parties or watch movies. And now you have to put on actual pants to go out. Instead of scurrying across the quad in your crappiest leggings to the nearest guy’s dorm.
Having to face your coming seniority and the belief that this means something
The senior slump really starts junior year if we are going, to be honest. The end is in view, which comes with its own set of joys, anxieties, and perks. For some, senior year means standardized tests, job hunts, and responsibility. For others, it means better registration times (I mean, maybe? Doesn’t seem like this is ever a perk) and smooth sailing until the end. There’s something pretty great about being the big (wo)man on campus.
You might be thriving AND surviving
For the first time in your life, you feel like you might potentially have a handle on things. You have your friends- tried and true by this point. You maybe learned how to study, after the trial by fire of failing gen chem or orgo or your first college paper. You’ve made mistakes and learned from them. Now, there might be a hint that you are thriving (knock on wood).
Junior year is a crazy whirlwind of obligations and new experiences. Sometimes, it’s important to realize that there’s still time to take it all in and let the good times roll.