Aug 18, 2017

Post Junior Year Thoughts

Wow. I really should have written this post a few months ago, right after my junior year ended. I've been out of school since June 1st, and it just seems like this Summer has flown by. With getting my older brother moved out and into his new group home (more on that soon), photo shoots upon photo shoots, volunteer work, and taking two classes... the past few months have been nothing but go go go and I haven't really stopped to breathe. Anyways, excuses aside, I'm about to embark on my final year of high school and I have a multitude of feelings about this upcoming year. Before sharing some of those thoughts and feelings (what one is supposed to do on a blog, right? Man, it's been awhile since my last post...) I figured I'd take some time, not only for you fellow high school students, but for myself as well to reflect on my previous junior year of high school. 

First and foremost, I'm most proud of myself for choosing the courses that I did. I remember being very nervous this time last year about my ability to juggle an AP US History course as well as an AP language and composition class with an Honors level Spanish course. Needless to say, I did it. Obviously my priorities were mainly geared towards those more language based courses, and with my honors level photography class and yearbook, my algebra and chemistry classes received a significant less amount of attention than my more difficult (and not gonna lie, more fun) classes. I do regret my lack of attention in those courses, because although I don't think they would have significantly boosted my GPA, I could have paid a lot more attention and studied a lot harder.

AP language and composition was the class that completely confirmed my love for rhetoric. It confirmed my ambition to major in communications, and let me know that I was on the right track. My teacher was very passionate, and I don't think I've ever loved a class' assignments more. It sounds weird, but I swear every assignment in that class had purpose and meaning and I wrote some pretty decent papers if I do say so myself. Also, I've never passed an AP exam with anything but a 3 until this course and AP US.

Taking marketing was also a really positive experience. The teacher was actually experienced in the professional marketing world, and was able to critique our campaigns with criticisms that ultimately allowed me to grow. I really enjoyed the business minded work that we did, and I plan on getting my masters in business administration after my bachelor's degree.

Aside from classes... well sort of, because yearbook was a class... I loved being a part of the creation of the CHS 2016-2017 yearbook. Everyone in the class really contributed and wanted to create the best book we could. And it was awesome! My favorite part was taking pictures of my fellow students - not so much the posed pictures, but during pep rallies I looked through the stands for the perfect candid moments and I did my best to capture those. Chapin students that read my blog? Get ready. WAY more pictures coming this school year! I love seeing students doing more than just learning, but growing at school. By sophomore and junior year students are so much more comfortable in their environment and are all about cheering on their school. And of course the senior class is always so full of energy. Yearbook allows me to capture that energy and preserve it into a physical book that we can all revisit in years to come. I get to be a part of something that tells the story of our small town through the youth. Clearly I can gush about yearbook and why I love it for hours... but you get the point. 

As I reflect on my junior year, I really need to thank all of my class of 2018 Cathleen Slagle Photography representatives. I was very unsure when first launching my rep program about who would even sign up and want to support me and my budding business. But y'all came through - and quickly too! It was such a compliment, and I honestly can't even express how grateful I am. At the time I had only taken maybe 6 people's pictures before in like a full on portrait session set up so I definitely lacked the experience that most photographers have. You guys took a chance on me and believed in me and my work, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate it! Also, the prom group that I photographed? Y'all are incredible! I DEFINITELY lacked experience especially in photographing large groups yet everyone was so kind to me and were key in helping me expand my following as you shared the photos. I couldn't have asked for a better first (official) year as a photographer.

In addition to my photography business, I took a photography studio concentrations class where I hoped to learn how to better organize myself and actually see concepts for photographs instead of just opportunity snapping (although, I love random adventures and random photos from random adventures). I learned a lot. I grew a lot.

I mentioned my experience photographing prom, and you can see me in my prom dress here, but I didn't really like the prom itself. I did however have such a great time planning prom, and putting together goody bags, designing the tablescapes, and coming in early to set up prom. That for me was such a better experience than the actual event. I'm not a big event gal I guess... or at least not formal big events. I'm not a big dancer, and a lot of the songs that were on weren't my taste I guess. Now when Handclap by Fitz and the Tantrums came on, I was a happy girl! Anyways, It was a good experience because I got to reconnect with some old friends that I had lost touch with throughout the years. All in all though, planning prom > going to prom. I am glad that I didn't have super high expectations for the night. I got to do what I loved that morning when I went in to help set everything up, and I got to do what I loved that afternoon - eating chick-fil-a and photographing people which helped cancel out the fact that I didn't particularly love the prom itself. I must admit, I did get some pretty peonies and a nice dress out of it though!

The summer before my junior year my family and I adopted 4 dogs, unfortunately the oldest of these passed away in the Spring, but I truly think that our new family members helped me get through my junior year. It's difficult to be in a bad mood at school when you check your phone and see one of your dogs as your background. Although they can be a bit of a distraction when assignments are due, I definitely think from sophomore to junior year, my outlook on life was even more positive after rescuing Jewel, Tygee, Snoop, and Lottie. That's weird to include in a reflection type post... but I honestly think that I'm a better person because of them.

All in all though, this school year I struggled to balance just about everything. School assignments and volunteer work, building my photography business, and spending time with my family. It doesn't seem like much, but organization and time management have never been my strong suits... But y'all know this already from my lack of blog posts.

I think the biggest highlight from my junior year though was finding my passions. In finding the things that I care about and deeply love, I found goals, ambition, and most importantly self confidence. Through my passions I was able to express myself, my true self. The myself that would often hide at school from my peers. I wouldn't say that I came out of

my shell, I would say that I almost totally lost my shell. I don't need it anymore! In doing what I love, I lost my fear... Sophomore year, I thought I was self confident, but I learned quickly that I still needed to love myself a little more.

My junior year was challenging academically, but I really lucked out that it was pretty light socially. I really didn't make too many new friends this past school year, but I was able to reconnect with some old friends that I definitely had lost touch with over the years. Not too many high school students can say that they go through their high school years pretty drama free... I can though for sure! Through focusing on my interests and passions as well as career minded goals, and working on strengthening my relationship with God and growing my faith, I was able to work on myself too and ultimately grow as a person. Although my extended family members cannot believe that my high school experience has nearly drawn to an end and I haven't really dated at all or even considered relationships, I'm really proud of myself for prioritizing my junior year and although it may have been a little lonely, I really grew up and spent my time wisely... Or as wisely as a 16 year old can spend her time.

Excuse my scatterbrained writing and reflections... It's honestly more for me to look back on in the years to come, and see how much I've grown over the years. You know, like that one spot in your house that your mom or dad would get you to put your back to the wall and they'd draw a little mark at your head and measure how tall you are and how much you've grown over the years. It's like that - but the digitally written version. Current/Rising high school juniors - enjoy this year. Find what you love to do and the people you love to do that with (remember that it's okay if that person is yourself) and do that thing. Your junior year is the perfect time to explore your passions and really make yourself proud.

Anyways, that's it for today. HOPEFULLY, more content to come. 

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