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Guest commentary: It’s time to adjust from summer to school

Sophia Benito
(Courtesy of Sophia Benito)

Sophia Benito is a junior at La Jolla High School and an editor for the school newspaper, the Hi-Tide. She will be writing a periodic column this school year about happenings at her school and what’s on the minds of herself and other local students. This is her first installment as La Jolla High and the rest of the San Diego Unified School District prepare to start classes Monday, Aug. 29.

As summer draws to a close, anticipation for the school year begins. Orientation day for La Jolla High School was Aug. 19, and fall sports are beginning.

After an eventful summer, the upcoming school year comes abruptly. My time was spent volunteering at Knockaround camp at UC San Diego as a junior counselor. I gained leadership experience through working with young campers on a college campus. It was an opportunity to build leadership skills and make friends while learning the responsibilities it takes to keep camp fun and safe for kids. I also got advice on school from UCSD students who were working as counselors alongside me. I now feel more prepared for the coming school year.

Some students may grumble about waking up earlier after the summer break, and other locals may lament the thickening traffic around campuses, but principals of La Jolla’s public schools say they’re excited about returning for the 2022-23 school year.

I spent the rest of my summer preparing to take the SAT in November. I decided to invest the bulk of my time and energy in preparing for next year’s college admissions, a decision I expect to benefit from in the long term. Hopefully, it’ll ease the burden later in the year when I have multiple AP [Advanced Placement] exams and (dreaded) finals. I often agonize over my future college admissions, and prepping early has helped ease my worries. It will leave me with less to dwell on when I need a more positive outlook.

I anticipate the forthcoming school year to be more demanding. I have heard from upperclassmen and graduates that junior year is the most challenging and significant. I plan to take primarily weighted classes, self-study to take an AP exam, and other academic pursuits on top of extracurriculars while maintaining a somewhat social life.

Along with this lies the SAT. I have noticed there is uncertainty over whether taking the test is necessary for the class of 2024. Several colleges have waived the SAT requirement for admissions, and I have many friends who have chosen not to take it. I intend to take the test at least twice to open more college options in the future if the SAT is required for the college I am interested in. I am hoping it will prove worthwhile.

During my junior year, I intend to become a more active part of my school community. I hope to better manage my time during the year by completing assignments early or maximizing my free time. Hopefully, this affords me more time to invest in socializing and strengthening friendships.

In previous school years, I tended to procrastinate and leave work to the last minute, thus having less free time to see friends when I was occupied by upcoming exams and school assignments. I am hoping to be able to find a balance between studying and socializing.

As the last days of summer approach, the reality of the beginning of school hits. It is time to adjust from summer to school.

Sophia Benito lives in the Muirlands West area of La Jolla. Her family has lived in La Jolla since the 1950s. Sophia is interested in journalism as her future profession and occasionally writes for online teen publications.