The end of sophomore year brought with it many choices about what classes we would be taking junior year, and, in some cases, how much pain we were prepared to put ourselves through. I chose to take AP Biology having been warned of the extensive amount of work and dedication that the class would require, sure that I could handle anything thrown my way. I knew that this class was at the top of my priority list and I told myself I was prepared to do whatever it took to succeed. Unfortunately for me, I also chose two other AP classes in addition to an honors class. That, combined with sports and work, led to a major case of burnout halfway through the first semester of junior year. I thought I was ready to face any amount of work, sure that my natural work ethic and study-hard-attitude would get me through the year, but I had no idea what I should have been expecting until the year began. I still loved biology and wanted to learn the content, but it was like everything that had been motivating me up until that point had suddenly drained away.
I was truly interested in the content we were learning about. Our research project about the Vortex Swim and learning about the effect of plastic and BPA on the human body made a huge impact on my life, and while I already used very few plastic products, I felt more pushed to cut even those out and find sustainable alternatives. Our water unit, especially the documentaries FLOW and A Plastic Ocean opened my eyes to how much water I inadvertently use every day and are the reason why I try to cut as much meat out of my diet as possible and try to be a (mostly) vegetarian. I see connections to biology everywhere. My family invited friends over for a Christmas cookie decorating day, and while they were there we came upon the topic of migraines. One of the women there has been suffering from migraines for a long time and was recently prescribed a new medication called Aimovig. I decided to find out more because I thought that it sounded like something we would learn about in class, and upon further research, I found that the drug actually uses cell signaling just like what we learned in class. It was a small moment, but it was exciting to see what we learned being applicable outside of school.
I don’t think the first semester went as well as I would have liked it to. I was not prepared for the workload and often left things to the last minute. This year, I want to spend more time working on homework when it is assigned and stay more on track. I want to work hard without burning myself out and develop better study skills than just quickly looking over my notes right before a test. Even though the first semester didn’t go exactly how I wanted or expected, I have high hopes for the new semester and new year.