Junior year isn’t the worst year

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Throughout my high school experience, junior year has always been demonized as the worst. There seems to be a consensus that it will be the hardest year. While it is definitely challenging, it is not as bad as people make it out to seem.

I know this comes as a shock to many of you and some seniors have probably stopped reading as they are experiencing flashbacks to the horrors of junior year, but just hear me out.

I’m not saying junior year is easy, I just think it is not as awful as it’s portrayed to be.

Let’s take Junior Theme for example. This paper is so hyped up that when my teachers passed out a piece of paper for the start of Junior Theme, it was like the air was sucked out of the room. Just a piece of paper that mentioned Junior Theme caused the level of stress in the room to increase.
It didn’t increase because of the immediate assignment. All we had to do was brainstorm some topics that we would want to write about, something we were all more than capable of, yet because of all of the build up about junior year and Junior Theme in particular, I along with many others in the class felt a wave of panic.

Looking back now, I wish I knew that it wouldn’t be that bad. Yes it is a lot of work, trust me I spent two periods every single day of third quarter in the library working on it. But just because it is a lot of work doesn’t mean you are not capable of it.

Most of the work you have to do for Junior Theme you have actually done before, just not on this scale. As much as I hate to say it, all of those analytical essays might have had a purpose.

Many of you probably want to dismiss me as an anomaly, but I’m not alone on this. On the last day of junior year, in American Studies we were discussing what we enjoyed about the class, what we wish we could have changed and what we would tell a new student taking the class. Multiple people in the class mentioned that Junior Theme was not as bad as they envisioned it to be, especially if you pick a topic you are genuinely interested in and stay on track with your work.

While Junior Theme isn’t the only thing people claim makes junior year difficult, it is almost always part of the equation. Another substantial part is the ACT or SAT.

As someone who got very stressed about the ACT, I’m not going to pretend it is no big deal. Looking back though, I knew multiple things I could be doing to make myself more prepared. The most difficult part was finding the time and the effort to do more academic work when all you want is to lay in bed and watch Netflix.

While they tend to get overshadowed, positives do exist in junior year as well. As you enter the second half of high school, you are no longer the youngest at school, more leadership opportunities become available, and you can take classes that you are actually interested in.

Junior year was my favorite year of high school so far and I think so many others have the opportunity to enjoy it as well, but first we need to stop painting it as the worst year of high school.

Sure, there will be times when you are stressed and sleep deprived, but to almost all of us that’s nothing new. So before you write off junior year as the the hardest and most stressful year, try to have an open mind, because if you go into the year with that mentality then it’s hard to recover.

I know so much of this is easier said than done, but conserve your energy junior year, because if senior year keeps going at the rate it is has been so far, you’re definitely going to need it.