Dear Sophomore,

Dear Sophomore,

You’re halfway there. Be proud of yourself. Maybe this is the first year you’re taking an AP class. Maybe this is the first year you’ve actually had to study. Maybe it’s the year you’ve had to learn how to balance six classes, a sport, a job, and a social life. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s been easy for you. However difficult this year has been for you, you’re halfway there.

I’m not going to lie. It probably won’t get easier. Sophomore year was the first year I ever cried because of how stressed out I was. My sophomore year was the first year I had to accept my grades didn’t define anything about me. My sophomore year was the year I had to choose between things I was really passionate about. My sophomore year was the first year I realized I wasn’t able to do it all. My sophomore year was the year all of my relatives expected me to know exactly what college I was attending and what my major would be.

Sophomore year was also the year I cried of happiness after seeing I passed my first AP test. All those nights staying up until 4 AM because of AP Bio had payed off. It felt worth it. That class was genuinely the most difficult class I’ve ever taken, and probably will be the most difficult one I’ll take in my four years here. My sophomore year was the year I found out what I really enjoyed and what I really, really didn’t. My sophomore year was the year I found who truly cared about me. My sophomore year was the year I truly began to care about myself.

I understand how much of a change it is. I don’t think you get enough credit. I wish I had someone reminding me that the numbers and letters on my transcripts didn’t mean anything about who I was. Yes, they’re important, and yes, please be proud of your accomplishments. Academic, athletic, extracurricular, whatever it is, take pride in what you do, but please remember that in ten years, one failed test isn’t going to mean anything.

All of the heartbreak, stress, and sadness that feels like the end of the world now won’t mean anything in a year. You don’t have to believe me. But looking back at everything I worried about last year, I remember next to none of it. It all will pass. I know people tell you high school will fly by but I never understood how true that really was until now. I’m applying for colleges this summer and I still remember walking into my first period freshman year.

Figure out your priorities. Find balance between what’s important to succeed and what’s important to you. Go to dances, to football games, to new restaurants, to open mics. Participate in spirit weeks, get involved, get to know your teachers. Meet new people, experience new things. These are the things you’ll remember. To this day, my favorite high school memory is not being able to stop laughing with my friends sitting at a table in the middle of a crowded In’N’Out after a game. We sang at the top of our lungs on the way there and walked in with paint smeared over our faces.

I can remember this and the night I cried because I thought I couldn’t handle everything I had taken on. Looking back, I’m proud of myself. I’ve made it this far. So, sophomore, you’re halfway there. I’m proud of you. Be proud of yourself. I hope you find your balance. It really will be over so much sooner than you think.

Yours truly,

Kristina Ching

A Junior Who Can’t Believe It’s Almost Over

PS – Did you know that this letter was written by a journalism student at Tustin High? We have our own on-line magazine called “The Pitchfork”  and a brand new digital zine that includes student art work and untold stories about students on campus.

Check out another “Dear Sophomore” letter:

Dear Sophomore,

You made it. Technically you are already halfway through your high school career. As I’m sure you already know, things are a little different now – it`s no High School Musical. You are encountering new teachers and you keep hearing that classes are going to start “counting” towards college. But don’t be alarmed, you are going to be okay, as cliche as that sounds. The second year of high school can be a little awkward. Believe me during my sophomore year I was a totally different person. So take it from me, an 18-year-old second semester senior that has a couple of tricks up my sleeves, which I have collected throughout the years here at Tustin High. Let’s start with some notable changes that you might start recognizing, some for the better and some even for the worst.

You will notice (or have) your friend group starting to drift apart; some will start joining sports teams, and others might find a new group.  While you are processing through this transition, don’t be afraid to join them as they try out new things as well. When I said that sophomore year is an “awkward” year I really mean that it is a year of trying to figure out yourself — your likes, and even discover a couple passions. And if you don’t that’s okay too, but give them a try. We are lucky enough to be on such a big campus where every year new classes are being introduced, and are there so we can take advantage of them.

That leads to me the second tip in my “High School Survivor’s Guide,” high school is really what you make of it. You can either step through the gates and have the attitude of “I don’t want to be here,” but let’s be honest, you are still going to have to make it through the day, so at the 7:45 bell, you decide whether you are going to make it a day that will benefit you. Since we are on the topic of classes, let me just add in that the subjects are slowly, but surely going to start being more… challenging. But that is where my tip number 3 comes in. Believe it or not, teachers are not just here to teach you, but are here to make sure you actually learn. And between you and me it is their job to make sure that you understand the material, many teachers stay one to even two hours after school, so just drop in and get that help on the geometry homework that you so desperately need.

Learn to understand other students, that girl or guy that you think hates you because they look at you weird could possibly be your future best friend. I can not stress a number of times I encountered students that would give me looks down the hallway, or from across the room and I ended up discovering very similar interests with them.

Also, just because you are not at the bottom anymore doesn’t mean that you are at the top, chilling. Believe me, you don’t want to just yet; when you do get there you are going to want to run back in time and try again, so just go with the year. What I mean by that is if you just get it done right the first time it won’t be dragged along later. I wish I would have actually taken that advice from my teachers and parents.

Oh, and yeah, those ladies that are on the right side of the office, who are so into the Tustin Tiller spirit, those are called counselors. You should pay them a visit from time to time because you are going to need them when it’s time for that college stuff. Overall, high school in general, is almost like a gated community that in basically 720 days (yes that’s how many days it is in 4 years) makes you realize more things about yourself, and how others think, since everyone around you will one day bump into you.

Oh and one more thing, leave drama and gossip out of your life; I was lucky enough to not have to go through it with anyone, but if you are currently in it, or have the opportunity, don’t. Four years do fly by, as a matter of fact they flash by in a blink of an eye. Don’t focus your attention on things that won’t affect you another year from now. Focus on yourself and no one but yourself, because on June 17, 2019, everyone receives their own piece of paper, and in the end you’re the one who makes it about you specifically.

Good luck,

James Cruz

Tustin High Class of 2017

PS – Did you know that this letter was written by a journalism student at Tustin High? We have our own on-line magazine called “The Pitchfork”  and a brand new digital zine that includes student art work and untold stories about students on campus.


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