Roughly ten times a week, I am asked how I am enduring my eleventh grade year. Junior year. Those two words alone are enough to send shivers down a student’s spine. The reason two small words can stimulate such a reaction are plentiful, so I decided to let others hear it from the perspective of a student in the middle of her junior year.
As a current high school student, I am familiar with expectations, stress and the fear of not meeting a certain standard. It often seems like we students are identified as a number or a grade letter and are expected to possess some supernatural power that allows us to conquer massive amounts of work at a time. Once Junior year creeps up, students begin getting nervous and apprehensive about what the near future will hold.
But what is Junior year really like?
To be quite frank, Junior year is the same as any other year. As we enter each new grade, we are given more work and responsibilities. This rule applies here. Not an illogical, terrifying amount of more work, but nevertheless a good amount. Both a school’s expectations and a student’s ambition contribute to this new and heavier workload. We were all told these guidelines at some point: Freshman year is for experimenting and finding out what you like. Sophomore year is for finding your path. Junior and Senior years are when you really need to buckle down. So the school now expects us to be familiar with its own and your own academic qualities. On top of that, college is right around the corner. This sudden realization often leaves students with a desire to over perform and stand out. By enrolling in more difficult classes and countless extra-curriculars, many students feel that they can leave an striking impression on colleges.
This is how I like to describe Junior year: Whereas in previous years where there was a pattern of comfortable weeks followed by a week of tests, Junior year just consists of less comfortable and more rigorous weeks. It is neither impossible nor easy, but it truly challenges a student’s abilities. These abilities are not limited to academic performance, but also to maintaining a positive outlook and willingness to perform.
So my advice to underclassmen is to think of school as an opportunity or challenge to conquer what is put before them. This is undoubtedly easier said than done, but I have come to find that it is the key to success. Maintaining ambition and striving toward your goals with a positive attitude makes the challenges of Junior year seem more attainable. Once this outlook is embraced for some time, it tends to stick. Each school year is only as good as you make it, so don’t think of a lot of work as a cluster of stress. Rather, think of a lot of work as a lot of opportunities to succeed. Have a positive attitude and embrace what school has to offer. With this mindset, when school gets even more demanding, you will already have a can-do attitude up your sleeve. Always remember, school is an environment where we are constantly filling our minds with more knowledge all the while learning more about ourselves. School is there for your benefit.