Welcome to Second Semester


We’re almost there seniors. On May 18th we will attend our last classes as high school students. On May 24th we will take out last exams as high school students. On May 24th we will also go to Prom. On May 30th we will have our senior dinner. And on June 1st we will graduate.

Some of us have been here for an upwards of 10 years, some of us for only 3, and a lot of us somewhere in between. But all of us, were at one point the freshpeople still figuring out what an “inside voice” is, still eager to take 7 academics and 3 arts, still feeling like we were being held captive whenever we saw “study hall” on our schedule and sulking in our light blue chair for 50 minutes making sure everyone else in the silent atrium knew we really wanted to be on the other side of the glass. We heard the phrase “2nd-semester senior” and it seemed so far off. We were, after all, still waiting restlessly to get our privileges so we could leave the building during school hours. But the thrill of privileges quickly wore off when we realized that going out to eat was running our wallets dry, and now most of us have racked up so many demerits from missed lunch duties or latenesses that we can’t go out anyway. Luckily we are spoiled by Chef Bridget and the rest of the kitchen staff with dishes like pork loin, glazed salmon, and even, once or twice, roasted duck. Let’s see if we get that kind of food in college.

Speaking of college, let’s not. For many of us, the waiting will be the hardest part, but we should all keep in mind that everyone will end up somewhere and will find something about that place to love because, after all, it’s college. That is all I will say about college.

Let’s look back on junior year for a second. Remember how we were sure that we wouldn’t survive the month-long period in American Studies when we were writing a research paper, planning a walking tour, and studying for a final all at the same time? Well here we are, alive and kicking. I bring American Studies up for two reasons. One is to say that if we survived that, we will most likely survive the college process, and the second reason is to shift for a moment to the second-semester juniors.

Unlike the phrase “second-semester senior,” “second semester junior” does not have nearly the same ring to it, especially at Berkeley Carroll. Here’s some advice for juniors who will soon be in the thick of second semester American Studies:

  1. Pick a research topic that actually interests you, not one you think will be easy. Even an “easy” topic will be difficult, and you will be much more willing to put in time and effort if it is going towards something you care about.
  2. Your paper will be very long, so break it into sections and think of these sections as different essays. This will make it more manageable to write and also more manageable to read.
  3. When you plan your walking tour, be prepared not to be able to do everything you want to. Remember, the information you are talking about is more important than the places you go, so try to pick places that are close to one another.
  4. Don’t over memorize for the final. You should understand where primary sources fit into a timeline of American history, but you don’t necessarily need to memorize people, places, and dates.
  5. Make sure you’ve read everything that has been assigned over the course of the year. If you haven’t, go back and read it because you never know if you might need it on the final.
  6. Make sure you have understood everything you’ve read over the course of the year. If you haven’t, go back and read them again so that you do understand them. On the final, it won’t help you to have done a reading, but not understood it.
  7. Finally, watch this Ask Amber video on preparing for the American Studies final: https://bcblotter.com/uncategorized/2017/06/07/ask-amber-preparing-for-the-american-studies-final/

But back to us, seniors. Keep in mind that, as I said earlier, on May 18th we will attend our last classes as high school students, on May 24th we will take out last exams as high school students, on May 24th we will also go to Prom, on May 30th we will have our senior dinner, on June 1st we will graduate, and in early September we will be in college. So let’s try to make the best of our last semester of high school.