Ah, junior year, also known as the “Year of Standardization”, is possibly the most difficult and stressful year in every high schooler’s life. Bogged down with every type of standardized test ranging from AP’s, SAT’s and ACT’s, the road can get quite bumpy. I just finished my junior year and there are many things that I wish I could go back and tell myself to remember at the beginning of the year. Alas, because that is not possible I write to all of you rising juniors, a list of lessons I learned.
1. Be positive.
As stated in the beginning, there is no doubt your junior year is probably going to be the worst and most difficult year of high school. Your year will not necessarily go as you plan for it to, and you will have barriers and obstacles so it is only imperative that you learn to make the best of every situation – good or bad. It is solely up to you whether or not you want to make it a good experience. You will fail tests (even though you studied your hardest), you will get into difficult situations, you will have heartbreaks and so on. But after every situation you always have two options: be negative about it, or be positive about it. Being positive is as simple as getting a bad grade on a test, and instead of complaining, writing a status about it on Facebook, or any other alternative, figure out why you got that grade, and vow to work harder and fix that issue.
2. Stop comparing yourself.
This is probably the most detrimental thing you can do during junior year. Just because someone else is taking a hundred AP’s and in every club, does not guarantee them entrance into their top school and does not mean you have to do the same either. Comparing yourself to your classmates has virtually no benefits. Every person has a different story, a different life. No matter how alike two people may seem, there is always going to be something that makes each of them different whether or not you can see it. Therefore it really makes no sense to spend that precious time that you could be utilizing in a more productive way, to mope about how many achievements and awards another classmate has.
3. Be a smart student.
I don’t just mean book-smart. Take whatever actions necessary to make the most of your education. Develop good study skills, ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask questions, etc. Time management is perhaps the biggest skill needed in junior year, because you are going to be piled up with an overload of activities which will be impossible to complete, without any organization. Some people do better writing minute by minute to-do lists, while some work better using an app on their phone. Find out what works best for you and STICK WITH IT.
4. Be honest to yourself.
There’s a difference between having your chemistry notes nicely scattered across your bedroom floor and your textbook open and along with Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube open alongside. Don’t make yourself believe that you are studying when in reality you just read the title of the chapter. Simply, the biggest lesson I learned this year, is not to cheat myself. Now that I think back to all the times when I received a low test grade, I remember what actually went down. When I couldn’t figure how to solve a math problem, I would start out on Khan Academy then find myself editing photos or on browsing through Facebook the rest of the time. But I would leave my book open, which apparently for me is equivalent to studying. DON’T DO THAT. If it works better for you to study outside of your room then do that. If it works best for you to study without any electronics nearby then get rid of them. In the end, just be honest with yourself.
5. Give it your best.
If you take anything from this article it’s this: do your best and leave all the rest. If you truly, 100 % honestly do everything you possibly and humanly can, then just patiently let the results unfold. If your outcome is good then that is great, but if not, then DON’T KILL YOURSELF OVER IT. Don’t spend hours getting depressed over a B or any other grade that you’re not satisfied with. If you’re not satisfied then use that disappointment as fuel to work harder the next time. Be disappointed with yourself for a minute, let it sink in for another, but don’t let it take over you. At the end of the day, you are who you are and that’s something you can’t change.
Good luck all you rising juniors.