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Annabel Merritt

Junior Year Reflection

20 May 2019

The Best and Worst Year All In One

While most people would look back on junior year as the worst year of highschool and

something that they never want to go back to, I would not. Beginning to set myself to higher

standards, this year I achieved many things I did not know were possible or that I was capable

of. While the work that was put in was gruesome, tiring, and almost unbearable, I learned how

to truly work for the things I am passionate about and I will always have junior year to thank that

for. This year has truly been influential in the best possible ways and has got me looking

towards the future and what it could hold for me. Specifically, this year we have focussed on the

Native American perspective and learning about Native American culture which has completely

shifted my perspective on life. While I will never fully know what is in store for me, I do know that

I will excel in the future due to the lessons I have learned this year. Junior year has taught me to

use every chance I get, focus on the big picture, and that I am not the only one, something that I

will explain later.

Going into junior year, I looked at everything assignment as something to get over with,

or something to check off my list. Throughout the year, I learned to fully appreciate the

opportunities we were given in our AGS projects such as the opportunity to discover the

Romantic Era through the Light Side Dark Side project, learn about our American history

through the Revolutionary Timeline project, or research Native American medicine through our

IBL project. Instead of sighing at having to do online research, I began to love discovering things

about my society or others that I did not know previously. I fed off of new information, finding

fascination in topics such as the Romantic Era writers, World War 2, and Native American run
health clinics. Changing my previous mindset, I was able to realize that you only get one

opportunity to complete an assignment, one chance at making it the best you can, so why not

put all of your effort into it. As a person who doesn’t particularly find joy in homework, this was a

very big change of heart for me. Recognizing this and changing my mindset will help me in

future times, whether at my first class in college or when I am older and have greater

responsibilities such as a family.

Secondly, I learned to focus on the bigger picture. Learning to do this was definitely the

toughest for me as I am very nitpicky and hold myself to very high standards. While I always

strive for perfection, this year taught me that that is very hard to achieve and that I am all the

same if I don’t achieve it. I have learned that even if I don’t score what I wanted to, that doesn’t

mean that I am struggling or that I am bad at something, it means that I am human. Everyone

can’t do everything, or remember every little date and person in U. S. History, or know how to

solve every single physics scenario thrown at us on the tests; that just isn’t possible, even

though I sure would like to think it is. While nothing I ever do will be perfect, I still need to keep

going on the right track to meet my end goal, whether that be academically or sports related.

Focussing on the bigger picture only works if your big picture is bright and if you try your best

possible on everything. On the contrary I have seen that if you fail to do this, focusing on the

bigger picture becomes an excuse to slack and not produce my foremost work. Also, through

our annotated bibliography and our IBL project I have seen that if you are able to do a bunch of

little things, such as researching 9 articles or documenting 13 things we have done this year,

you are able to answer a larger more important question. If you complete all of the little things

that you are supposed to and don’t put them off, then you will be able to look at the big picture

more clearly than if you don’t do the little things.


Lastly, I learned that I am not the only one. Throughout this year, we have looked into

the Native American perspective, how they live life, and how they are treated. Because of this, I

now see that I am not the only one. There are other people to be aware of and I need to listen to

other people’s perspectives. I have learned that many Native Americans don’t get their voice

heard and this has taught me to ask and to listen to people in order to hear their perspective. My

opinion is not the only that matters. Our Native American studies have opened my eyes to the

wide mistreatment and stereotype of a certain group that is degrading and demeaning to their

community. Previously, I was unaware of this constant mistreatment and depiction of Native

Americans as inferior and now I am able to recognize that the white perspective is not the only

perspective. One of the most influential Native American studies we did was the Pocahontas

Paradox because I was shocked to find out that a movie that I watched all of my childhood had

portrayed Native Americans in such an inferior way. Going forward, I am able to recognize that

our society doesn’t take into account the perspective of minorities and that their perspectives

are just as important in order to get a grasp on a topic or issue of our society.

In conclusion, while junior year has been tough, the workload along with our learning

focus on Native Americans has taught me to use every chance I get, focus on the bigger

picture, and look for multiple perspectives about a topic. Junior year has been one of the most

challenging while simultaneously teaching me the most about myself and those around me and

for that I am grateful. I may not remember every little assignment we completed, or even any of

the AGS projects at all, but I know I will use what I have learned through junior year to become

successful when faced with adversity later in life and to make the best impact I can on the world.