Junior year is one crazy 180 days, and I am definitely speaking on behalf of every 16-17 year old. Everything we do during this year is super important and it seems as though there is pressure weighing down on us in every way, what with college applications so close and the sheer workload that is placed upon us.
We’ve got to successfully take AP classes, ace our AP tests, prep for SAT or ACT and ace that, too, worry about prom, do well in all of our classes and bring that GPA up, and start seriously thinking about college and our futures. It’s certainly a lot to ask of teenagers, but somehow we make it happen. As someone who just finished junior year a couple days ago, it seems that the time flew by even though I and all my friends struggled throughout the year. Here is a summation of the main points of junior year, and to all rising juniors: you can do it!
It seemed that all anyone could talk about this year was the SAT/ACT. At least at my school, everyone snoops around to figure out each others’ scores, and some get really competitive and weird about the whole thing. I also never realized just how much preparation and time goes into “studying” for the SAT/ACT.
I only took the SAT, but only after taking a prep class and spending as much time on it as if it was just another addition to my school schedule. Others got private tutors, books, took workshops, and used other methods to prep for the SAT or ACT, and many have to take it more than once. As long as you use your time wisely and take your practice tests or class seriously, then you will be fine. Also, make sure you’re taking the right test! You may be studying hard for the SAT when you are actually more naturally suited to the ACT, so this is obviously very practical information to know going in. All in all, if you set a reasonable goal for yourself which is a couple hundred points above your starting point, you should be all set!
First Time AP-er
This year I took 2 AP classes, and while they were more demanding than my other classes at times, they were nothing to stress too much about. Going into this year, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle AP classes, but it turns out that they’re mostly honors classes taught in a more serious way and demanding more class participation and homework. I definitely enjoyed the AP classes I took this year, so I think that if you are to take AP classes, you should only take the ones in subject areas you are interested in because otherwise the workload may not be worth it (unless you are looking to get credit for a class you know is harder in college, like Economics!). So really all you need to know is pick your APs wisely, study hard, and enjoy the material you are learning!
Junior year is also the first year of the Prom Craze. Going into junior year, my friends and I (speaking from a female’s perspective, as I can’t speak for the males of the universe) would always stress about prom and who we’d bring as our dates, and What If No One Asks Me and yadda yadda yadda. It turns out, NONE OF THIS MATTERS! You’ll get all dolled up, go take pictures with your friends and have loads of laughs and funny moments, and have an absolute blast dancing it up on the dance floor. It truly will not matter if you have a date or not, so don’t sweat it. Having fun with your friends is the best part of the night, and being worried about other things will ruin it for you. Prom was really fun, and pretty much every single person had an awesome time.
College Craziness Gets Realer
By far the most stressful aspect of junior year was that college got really real, really fast. This essentially encompasses everything one does during junior year. You’ve got to take AP classes to keep up your rigorous schedule, ace your SAT or ACT, keep up your GPA, go on college tours and sit through info sessions, and start thinking about what you want to do if you don’t already have an idea. This stress is mostly unavoidable since everyone around you will be doing crazy things to fluff up their future applications, and it’ll probably make you feel lesser if you’re not one of these people. Don’t let this get to you.
If you’re NOT aiming to becoming president of clubs you don’t give two beeps about or spending thousands of dollars on a personal college admissions consultant (Didn’t know that was a thing? Look no further.), don’t feel badly! Keep doing whatever you do best, and don’t do anything that doesn’t make you happy or match your true interests.
Rising juniors: Don’t worry, the world
is will become your oyster as soon as you’re done with the crazy stressfulness of junior year!