Looking Back on Junior Year

By: Savi Raghuraman | Student Life Editor

May 23, 2018

As we approach the end of the school year, the junior class’s level of impatience for summer is likely surpassing that of their previous years of school. After all, junior year is widely considered the most challenging year of high school, the year that matters most in college applications. This year, juniors encountered a range of academic difficulties that we had never faced before. Some of us took our first AP class, while others began work towards an IB Diploma. Many of us took our first SAT or ACT. With all of the pressure colleges place on achievement in junior year, we must realize that seeking out such challenges is an important step in accessing the opportunities of the future, but that knowledge doesn’t make the tasks at hand any easier.

The sheer workload of junior classes was one of our most daunting obstacles. Evan Campbell, junior, commented that this year was more difficult than others for him because he “took five AP classes and started the IB Programme.” Juggling the demands of all of these courses, especially during the several busy weeks of AP and IB testing, was particularly tough, he noted. Plus, with many juniors taking the SAT, ACT, or both this school year, additional practice and study time was necessary.

On top of time required for assignments and studying for academic success, juniors had to allocate additional hours for activities such as playing sports, volunteering, and working an after-school job. These constraints put pressure on us to figure out how to best manage our time. Indy Day, junior, remarked that the hardest part of his year was “balancing school and trying to have a life.”

However pointless some of these challenges may seem, they serve a broader purpose. When we leave campus on June 7th, we will take with us new skills and insights we didn’t have coming into our junior year, knowledge that will help us deal with obstacles senior year, in college, and beyond.

Most juniors see now that, to get the most out of everyday, good time management is a must. Although the challenges of this year haven’t cured all habits of procrastination, most of us have shown improvement at completing work in a timely manner and balancing our schedules to reflect our priorities. Junior Macy Smith remembers realizing, “to survive my busy schedule, I had to take advantage of every second I had a break in the day to do homework and study. I depended on different resources, like study books, to keep myself caught up when I had to miss school.” Still, she adds, “I always gave myself a brain break, sometimes sneaking in a little Netflix here and there.” Meanwhile, fellow junior Flynn Lloyd acknowledges that “it’s impossible to do everything, so it’s really important to do the things that make you happy” and “focus on your mental health first.” Tools other than prioritizing helped juniors be productive as well, namely caffeine. Many readily admit to developing some sort of caffeine addiction this year, if they didn’t have one already.

Although AP and IB testing season was likely the most dreaded time of the year, most juniors with multiple tests emerged from their last test with senses of both relief and anticlimax. The tests were stressful and exhausting, but we usually attended school for only four or five hours on test days. With little of the normal assignment workload from AP and IB classes and an excuse to focus on your physical and mental health to maximize testing success, quite a few juniors confessed to feeling more well-rested and relaxed during testing week than usual.

We have just one more year of high school until we’re set free into the “real world” to pursue our goals as adults. With this fast-approaching future in mind, Lucy Terry shares the lesson she learned from junior year: “It’s important to be outspoken, even if it’s a tough issue. High school is a bubble, but we’ll be leaving that bubble soon, and we need to know and have opinions about the world around us.”

You won’t be missed, junior year. But out of all of the blood, sweat, and tears we poured into you, we received some valuable bits of wisdom in return.

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