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Junior Year: A Memoir to Banana Bread

Take a deep breath, relax, and relate the process of the toughest year in highschool to the process of making banana bread.

Dear Sophomores, Freshmen, 8th graders, and anyone below high school age, I am sure you’ve heard the statement, “Junior year of high school is going to be the hardest year.” But how true is that? Why do people say that? Should you panic and prepare?

First of all, take a deep breath and relax as everyone has a different experience. But coming from a Junior in my last few weeks of the year, this has been the hardest year of my life academically and stress-wise. The causes were anywhere from AP classes, essays, and college prep as they all mush together at the same time. However, don’t panic as I have learned to push through, even with the hardest academic challenges. One key component in my calm composure that has got me through Junior year was banana bread.

Banana bread has always been my favorite baked good since I was little, and I associate it with the good times of my life. But it’s not just eating banana bread that relieves the stress, it’s the whole process. Purchasing the ingredients, following the trusty recipe, cracking the eggs, mixing the batter, and putting the pan in the oven is simple yet calming.

So I broke Junior year into the eight simple steps of my favorite banana bread recipe, which helped me stay on track academic-wise, and banana bread-wise. Here are the ingredients you need: 

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees – Think of this as prepping yourself for a good year. How you begin is how you finish so hold your head high, and make the effort to have all the supplies and clear your head of all stresses from the summer.


Step 2: Cream together butter and sugar – This represents the start of your year. It’s important to put your best foot forward. For the first few months keep careful notes of your schoolwork and be careful not to slack off while also allowing time for friends and hobbies so your morale stays high.


Step 3: Add eggs and crushed bananas – All classes seem to clash together into one big blob in the middle of the semester and that is when the stress peaks. This portion of the recipe is when the majority of the ingredients are added and they begin to form into a mushy batter. I like to think of this as the first major academic conflict of the year. The best way to overcome this is to not let it burden your whole life, just take the proper precautions and let it go.


Step 4: Combine well – This is when everything starts to come together as winter break is approaching and you see the year as a unit and not a new beginning. The best thing to do during the time period is to relax but also stay locked in knowing that things will get more serious.


Step 5: Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla. All ingredients are in the bowl, your mindset is there, and you want to succeed. But it needs to be maintained which can become extremely mentally taxing. This is when coping mechanisms like baking, painting, sports, and music come into play. I recommended setting aside time for academics but also something that brings a smile to your face.


Step 6: Mix just until combined. Do not overmix. Think of this step as a reminder that though this year is important, it is not the end of the world. It’s important not to overwhelm yourself with what-ifs. 

The importance of a well-mixed banana bread batter, with the addition of chocolate chips.

Step 7: Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf pan – This step is when you finally get to prove yourself and all of the initial preparation pays off. It’s so important to set yourself up for success and this step proves that its worth it. Keep this in the back of your mind as setting the stage for success and a proper ending.


Step 8: Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes – This is the ending when everything is done and you’re waiting for results and reward (summer & test results). You’ve made it! Hopefully, all in one piece with minimal conflict, though that is rare. Congratulate yourself and prepare for Senior year. You’re in the home stretch!

Enjoy your banana bread!! – Have a great summer doing things you love and prepping for your last year of high school. Enjoy Senior pictures, summer shenanigans, or college hunting. Good luck!

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