Junior Year: Let’s Get Down to Business

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Everyone has heard that junior year is the hardest and most stressful year. Cliché, right? However, it’s actually true. According to psychologist Robert Leahy high school students these days have higher stress and anxiety levels than those of psychiatric patients 60 years ago.

The class load is heavier than previous years, the SAT looms, and college is right around the corner, not to mention the fact that high school students are expected to know what they want to do after graduation.

“Yes, junior year is the hardest,” said junior Alina Baltazar. “I have all AP classes and I have more work to do. Also, there is more competition in order to be noticed by colleges, so we are pushing ourselves more.”

With so much pressure being put on juniors, it’s difficult to deal with everyday habits. Students have to individually find out what works for them and how to help themselves through high school and eventually college and the ‘real world.’

“I limit my time with social media and extracurricular activities and focus on my academic studies,” said junior Annabelle Nguyen.

The question is: should there be this much pressure? Is it helpful or hurtful for high school students to have this amount of stress pushed on them? Would it help juniors to be less stressed out?

“I think that there should be this much pressure,” said Baltazar, “We are going into the ‘real world’ in a short amount of time, and these pressures and how we react to them is sort of a practice for us.”

This stress, anxiety, and pressure can help prepare students for college and beyond, but some say that enough is enough.

“I feel like the school is trying to get us ready for college so they exert this pressure to teach us this,” said Nguyen. “However, it is an overwhelming, stressful feeling that I am not comfortable with.”

The main reason for stress in junior year is the amount of work that has to be done. Expectations are higher for students, and more schoolwork to do in order to reach these expectations. In addition, students still need to sleep at some point. If there wasn’t as much homework, junior year might not be so bad.

“If there hadn’t been as much school work, I could’ve gotten to bed before one o’clock every night,” said senior Terri Boutte. “But for the most part, homework helped to prepare for tests.”

Junior year is a large stepping stone for teenagers: it’s the point where students get the chance to grow and be responsible and become an adult. It’s a chance for students to prove they are able to go out into the world in a couple years. However, teens can’t wait for senior year, college, and just getting out into the world.

“I’m looking forward to growing as an individual, getting a license, having more freedom, working to earn money, and having more opportunities since I am older,” said Baltazar.

Future juniors should have an idea of what they’re heading into, even if it is next school year. They should know what is expected of them and how to deal with these high expectations.

“You can’t do better than your best,” said Boutte. “Don’t stress too much.”

“Brace yourself,” said Nguyen, “Don’t ever slack. It’ll bite you in the behind.”

“I would tell the next juniors to go to tutoring right when you don’t get something,” said Baltazar, “Their success depends on them and no one else.”