The Post-AP Life of a Junior


Daria Levy, Staff Writer

My name is Daria. I am a junior, soon-to-be senior at Tenafly High School, and I took four AP classes this past year. In addition to these classes, my year, like many other juniors, consisted of studying for the SAT, managing clubs and internships, while trying to live out the “high school experience.” My “high school experience,” however, was a bit different than the normal Friday-night football game and after-school club. My “experience” consisted of many late nights filled with essays on novels such as The Great Gatsby and tedious math problems like finding “x” in a logarithmic equation. As I sat hunched over my laptop going through AP cram courses, I wondered when this madness would come to an end, if at all.  

Thankfully, my busy schedule came to an abrupt end after taking my AP exams. By the middle of May, my schedule was close to empty, and I was left to decide what I would do with all this time. After all, having free time, like most AP students at Tenafly, felt like a foreign concept.  

I began by trying to pursue art. If it isn’t obvious enough, my talents do not lie in art. But in a random attempt to pursue my “creativity,” I bought a few acrylic markers at Target and began drawing. 

A few pages from a booklet I created, called “Fruit Salad”.

Similarly, I thought that exercising could be a healthy habit to introduce into my schedule. I set a goal to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. The exercise, of course, did not begin with vigorous workouts (I am not much of an athlete); I began with walking my dog, Lola, in the neighborhood. One day, I even drove to Piermont with a friend to walk along the water—I figured a change in scenery would be fun. 

A photo captured by a friend.

I also made efforts to spend more time with friends and family. It felt as though my best friends this year became my textbooks, so I figured that I needed to start interacting with actual humans. My grandmother visited from Israel to see my cousin’s graduation and, in a spur of spontaneity, I decided to miss school to attend the graduation ceremony in Pennsylvania. 


My cousin and I enjoying a burger at Shake Shack after her graduation ceremony.

Finally, I continued to pursue my love for coffee reviews. I visited many more coffee shops in the area and wrote many more reviews (check out @coffeebydaria on Instagram!). This hobby isn’t so much healthy as it is fun, but I realize now that fun is important too.

An iced oat cappucino at Levain Bakery in NYC.
A freddo cappuccino at Cafe Leon Dore in NYC.
An iced blueberry matcha at Saxbury’s in Pennsylvania.

As junior year comes to an end, I am still unsure about what my future will look like. Yet, I am grateful for the lesson I have learned during this time: it isn’t so bad to balance a work-schedule with enjoyable habits. Moving forward, I hope to remember this lesson when I apply to colleges next year, and I encourage other struggling seniors or juniors to take my experience into account.