Why Junior Year Of College Is The Ultimate 'What If?' Time Of Life

by Amanda Mehall

Looking back on the last two years in my career as a student, I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve pushed myself and how much I changed for the better.

Coming in as a freshman, I thought I had it all figured out.

I thought I was ahead of the game, and I thought I had college in the bag.

The further into your education you get, the more you will realize how mistaken you were.

Granted, some people do have it all figured out, but in reality most of us don’t.

I've learned that’s totally fine.

Halfway through my junior year, I’m starting to wonder if this is really what I want in life.

I’m majoring in communication/journalism with a minor in psychology, and I sit in all my major and minor classes wondering what I’m going to do.

I ask myself if I’m good at this, and if I think I’ll be able to do this years into the future.

I go home and often I’ll look up jobs in mass communication or in writing, and I reassure myself there’s something there for me. I like to remind myself of why I chose to go into journalism, and it was simply because I always loved reading and writing.

Now that I’m halfway through my junior year, I realize even though I question what I’m pursuing, my actions show me otherwise.

I’m the photography editor for the on-campus, student-run newspaper, I blog with the HerCampus chapter at my university, I contribute to Elite Daily and I help with a local artist’s publicity.

Junior year taught me that no matter what I do, or no matter how devoted I am to something, it’s okay to be unsure.

The future is terrifying because it's the unknown. It’s human nature to be intimidated by something we don’t know or understand.

College juniors are so young, we have little to no “real life” experience. It basically feels like trying to plug something into an outlet in the dark.

Now is the time I’m applying for internships, and hitting the apply button is a fulfilling yet mysteriously unsettling thing to do.

I review my résumé and I feel pretty good. It’s strong; I had the last two years under my belt to make it what it is and constantly work on polishing my portfolio.

As I’m trying to get my foot in the door, I think about how I’ll finally get to wear one of my Ann Taylor blazers to an interview and talk about my love for writing and photography and why I want to "oh so badly" work for this company.

Then I fantasize about actually getting the position and working as a real journalist.

I think about life in the office, building strong relationships with my supervisors and any other interns, and then the reward of writing in my experience on my ever-growing résumé.

Then I think, “Damn, this is growing up.”

Junior year truly is the time adulthood comes up and slaps you in the face.

You’re no longer a young, optimistic freshman. Instead, you’re a hardworking, realistic budding professional, and graduation is eerily lurking closer.

Even though you’re growing into what you’re studying to be at this point, junior year taught me being skeptical is OK.

Being skeptical will force you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, where all the good stuff happens.

I've learned different opportunities will present themselves to me at different times while I’m a student and after graduation. The one constant will be my writing.

My love for writing is what keeps pushing me along. It serves as a reminder I'm on the right path.

The future is definitely scary, and college juniors have a lot of thoughts racing through their heads accompanied by many unanswered questions.

I wouldn’t have it any other way though, because I thought I had it all figured out two years ago. If I still felt that way, I would not be as prepared for all the curves and bumps in the road I still have to face.

Feeling insecure is all right, for now.

It helps me have a more open mind and I realize I still have lot to learn. Sometimes, I don’t think I’m the best, and it pushes me to improve my craft, which will hopefully make it outstanding.

I’m sure as hell scared for what’s to come, and I’m sure as hell working my hardest.

That’s all we juniors can do for right now until we’re thrown into the place called “the real world.”