There comes a point in every year when I am ready to throw in the towel.
It’s that part of the winter when AP classes begin preparing for AP tests, when basketball games go into double overtimes and my Harbinger workload doubles.
I’ve hit that point.
I guess I could call it my “junior-itis.” Typically, by this point of the year I am exhausted and slightly overworked and ready to drop out of high school to join the circus.
But this year, I don’t feel unmotivated. I don’t feel the dangerous urge to procrastinate. Instead, I am crippled by an even deadlier emotion — wanderlust.
It’s been seven months since I went on a trip. Seven whole months without plane rides or cramped car seats. Seven months without hotel beds or getting lost in downtown Seattle or awkward conversations with strangers.
When I was little, I traveled almost every month for dance competitions. Mostly, these trips kept me in the Midwest, but I always had competitions in big cities to look forward to — Chicago, Nashville, Denver and L.A. I was accustomed to airports and car rides. My home-away-from-home was in hotels thick with the smell of hairspray and take-out food.
My church introduced me to North Carolina, the most beautiful place on earth. Journalism took me to Seattle and San Francisco, where I fell in love with quirky downtowns and art districts.
I fell in love with the big cities. I fell in love with the beach. I fell in love with the mountains. And as I spend more and more time in Kansas City, I have begun to itch for an escape.
It’s strange to think that in a year and a half, I could be anywhere I wanted. I could be climbing a mountain in North Carolina or drinking coffee in Seattle. Or I could be in the circus.
It’s strange to think that junior year — the hell year, the year we all dread — is imperative to my future.
But it is.
And my wanderlust is spurring me not into apathy, but into action. As the year draws to a close, I’m driven even more to find a way to get away from Kansas City, to the strange cities and coasts I have always loved.
Junior year may be terrible, but it’s a time to make a future for yourself. And somehow, my wanderlust is only giving me inspiration to work even harder so that the next time I go to one of those cities, it will be to stay, not just as a visitor.