Junior Year: A Student’s Perspective

Learn how to manage the sleep deprivation and overwhelming stress of junior year by using these student-approved tips.

AP US History students are hard at work as they prepare for the first test of their junior year.

Jackie Bond

AP US History students are hard at work as they prepare for the first test of their junior year.

Jackie Bond, Staff Writer

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Junior year is infamous for being every honors student’s worst nightmare. As the prospect of college applications and the fear of future AP tests looms over students’ heads, no one can escape the unbearable pressure of junior year. Now that I have endured six long, laborious weeks of being a junior, I am anything but immune to the overwhelming anxiety of being in three AP’s, taking five weighted classes, and trying to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of attaining a perfect grade-point average. But, I am just one of many overachieving upperclassmen who are willing to struggle through another year of their lives in an attempt to gain intellectual “perfection” and recognition from renowned universities. Although there is no way for ambitious high school students to avoid the inexorable stress associated with junior year, there are ways to limit it.

 Learning from my years of anxiety-inducing experiences, I now know that powering through assignments the night before your ten page outline and thousand word essay is due is shockingly NOT the answer. Instead, just sit down, listen to music, and pace yourself; cramming will only abate your concentration and intensify your stress. I always divvy out my assignments so I can finish an equal amount of homework each day, rather than desperately cramming it all in a single night. If you succeed at this tedious, but worthwhile endeavor, do not hesitate to reward yourself; use your hobbies and favorite foods as incentive to finish your designated amount of work each day. Personally, I cool down with a small bowl of cookie dough ice cream and my favorite, binge-worthy show on the nights that I actually make it through my insurmountable heap of notebooks and outlines. 

Another method for dealing with junior year is to get help. Whether it be from a teacher after school, a tutor, or even a friend, do not hesitate to ask for help you when you are struggling. In spite of the general belief among students, teachers are incredibly helpful when you actually give them the opportunity to be. Although it may seem embarrassing to ask for assistance from a teacher, or to admit you are struggling and need to spend a couple of sessions with a tutor, being a little confused is nothing to be ashamed of and it is definitely nothing worth hiding. Lastly, do not freak out… Acknowledge the fact that you are in for some long nights and poor test scores, and eventually you will learn to accept the stress you will inevitably face. Everyone struggles at first, but as long as you work smart, study hard and stay motivated, you will do the impossible and survive junior year.