How to Survive Junior Year

Steven Roche '21, Editor-in-Chief

Ah, Junior year, the most important yet “harshest” high school year. As a junior at BCHigh, I have the wonderful opportunity to experience the horrors and gruesome nights of monstrous heaps of assignments every single day. As September 4th drew near, I became more anxious about the impending nine months of suffering, but after a quarter into the grind, I have a more educated and realistic idea of junior year. If you are one of the underclassmen dreading junior year, I have good news: it does not necessarily need to be the worst year of high school.

While it is certainly true junior year will most likely be the hardest year you will face academically, it sometimes does not feel like it. You will likely be taking more honors and APs than you have ever taken before at BCHigh, and you will face pressure to study and take standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT. This alone is enough to make the year very challenging. However, after evaluating my own experience and others’ experiences, junior year in a lot of ways is easier. If you excel in certain classes or have a teacher that fits your learning style, the class seems much easier than anything you have done before. By the time you are a junior, you are more mature, focused, and organized, so classes seem to get easier even though they are harder. If you prioritize school work, it is very likely a good portion of your classes will seem very manageable.

Yet, there is truth to junior year being very difficult. Some classes will get hard, and many juniors find classes like Calculus or English AP to be very challenging. Sometimes a teacher’s methods simply do not best fit your learning style, which can make a class harder. These are the classes that will take up most of your homework and cause the most anxiety. The good news is that if some of your other classes are easier, the homework in most cases will not be too much to handle (barring midterms, AP exam weeks, or the end of a quarter). The general consensus among my peers is that specific classes are quite difficult and time-consuming, while others are not an issue.

If you are concerned about junior year and are looking for some advice, the following tips have helped me make it more manageable. Firstly, avoid AP classes that you are weak in and take ones in subjects you have excelled in. Personally, I did not take Spanish AP because I worried I would do poorly. I love the language and improving in it, but I knew taking it would be unwise because I do not have a knack for it. However, I excelled in science and found it easier than Spanish, so I decided to take a science AP. Secondly, develop strong study habits now. Go to bed on time, do not procrastinate on homework, and learn study methods to increase how effectively you learn. If you do the aforementioned tips and improve your studying skills, you will not have to struggle to form them while taking on harder classes. Lastly, develop good relationships with your teachers. Having a good relationship is crucial because he or she will be more likely to give out extra credit, and he or she will not seem like a malevolent demon who wants you to fail. Psychologically your stress will decrease because the class will seem more manageable. Even if extra credit is never given out or the class still seems impossible, cultivating a good relationship makes the class more enjoyable. Getting to know your teacher will make the class more interesting because you will understand his or her passion for the subject, and you will likely be inspired to do well as a result. If you prepare well and view your classes with a bit of levity, junior year will not be that horrible, sleep-deprived year. It will be the most challenging, satisfying, and oddly fun year of high school.