It’s been one and a half months since my junior year started and I was definitely not prepared. As much as my older peers and various internet articles told me that junior year would essentially be the worst, most stressful year of my high school career, I wish I knew a few extra things before tackling the school year:
1. Sleep is for the weak A common theme for my junior year has been sleeping at three in the morning. There will be numerous times where I will have several assessments to study for on the same night and the next thing I know, I’m pulling an all-nighter. For someone who values sleep very much, my sleeping schedule takes quite the toll on me.
2. Don’t start studying the night before During my freshman and sophomore year, I relied on doing the unit’s homework the night before an assessment and passed with flying colors (usually). That is definitely not the case for Junior year. Exhibit A being that I may have thought Honors Chemistry my sophomore year was a breeze, but AP Chemistry requires me to read and practice the problems in the assigned textbook pages every night leading up to the tests and quizzes. Trust me, you may be laughing at my mini revelation, but my semester GPA took a big hit.
3. Help sessions are your best friend Sometimes, reaching out to your friends and classmates for help in a class may not help you. What I have found is that everyone is just as confused or tired as me, so going in for help from a teacher in the mornings and after school is usually where I find myself. I used to have the mindset that if I didn’t understand a lesson from my teacher in class, asking for extra help wouldn’t help either, but that is not the case. Teachers have their flaws too and a one-on-one session does more good than harm.
4.It doesn’t matter what “everyone else” is doing The first two years of high school, most of your grademates are taking the same courses as you due to graduation requirements and such. However, with junior year, we get a little bit more freedom. What I have learned is that maybe taking AP U.S. History because “everyone else is taking it” wasn’t my best idea, but all I can do now is push through. Don’t make the same mistake as me- make room for classes you have full interest in to keep your motivation up throughout the year.
5.Buy a planner You may be thinking that this is a useless tip because you believe that you will buy a planner, write in it for the first two weeks (if you’re lucky), and leave it at the bottom of your bag for the rest of the year. Believe me, that is a very good description of my organization habits during sophomore and freshman year; however, keeping up with a planner this year is the best thing that’s ever happened to me (more or less). Call me happy-go-lucky, but the color coordination of each monthly calendar in my planner is incredibly satisfying and doesn’t allow me to forget a single due date.
6. The guilt of participating in hobbies and after-school activities Unless it’s participation for an Honors Society, Student Council, the school newspaper, SAT prep and other academic-related extracurriculars, I find myself feeling slightly guilty for neglecting homework on a Saturday or Friday night to relax with friends or participating in non-academic related hobbies. Sometimes I find myself thinking that I don’t deserve a time off from school and academics, but that’s not the case. Even if it wasn’t the best week, relaxing a little bit after school is very important to maintain motivation and health.
Although it’s still early in my junior year, I have quite a firm grasp on what to do and what-not-to-do in order to survive the rest of the school year. A basic summary would be to work hard among all of the stress that comes with junior year, but to also make the most of the second-to-last year of high school. All in all, as long as I can manage to get a firm of a hold on my GPA by the end of the year, I’ll be content.