A Myth or Reality: The Stigma behind Junior Year

Underclassmen hear whispers about the dreaded year. Seniors breathe a sigh of relief when they are done with it. But is junior year really all that it’s hyped up to be?

Junior year is academically, physically, and emotionally one of the most challenging years of a person’s education, as almost all juniors can attest to. Students in the eleventh grade have to survive a tougher course load, possible advanced placement classes, along with standardized testing. Most feel the need to maintain a healthy social life, and they also have to balance sports and extracurricular activities. To add to the mountain of stress, juniors also need to start searching for colleges and come to terms with what they want to do for the rest of their lives. As you can already tell, junior year has the potential to destroy a student. Classes are no longer about adjusting to high school or getting used to honors courses; now students are expected to meet the demands of plenty of rigorous courses.

There’s a lot to get done in a single year. But how do current juniors feel the year is going? I surveyed a small group of my peers to find out, and I received a few conflicting answers.  A few responded with enthusiasm, calling junior year “overhyped” and “fun.” One student called junior year a “rigorous and challenging academic experience.” Another friend expressed having trouble balancing the “[ridiculous] amounts of homework and projects, participating as an important player at the varsity level for a winter sport, maintaining a healthy social life, all the while deciding [where to go for college].” This theme was common among students interviewed.

Overwhelmingly, people agreed with the sentiment that “we just need more than 24 hours in a day.” Junior year seems to create this unhealthy mentality. Also, many students agreed that teachers sometimes forget that their class is not the only obligation a student has. One friend, when asked if he could comment on how stressed he was this year, responded “Possibly, but I’ve got a lot of work right now, so there’s your input.”

The bottom line is junior year is tough. But in the midst of all the negative comments, I also received a few positive ones. Overall, my peers agreed that with the increased amount of stress also comes an opportunity for more independence. “You’re taking full control, even with what electives and classes you choose” one student replied. “It’s all about perspective, and how to deal with [stress]” another junior added. “It’s all a matter of time management and a lot of stress is induced not by teachers and homework, but how the students react to that work,” another responded.

As a junior myself, I agree that the eleventh grade is a very challenging time for students. Yet, I also agree that this is a year where you gain a lot of independence, such as passing your driver’s test and being able to drive. Sure, my peers and I have all spent hours studying completing homework and studying for tests, but it really is what you make of it. High School should be a time where you are able to grow in all aspects of your life. Junior year might stop you from hanging out with friends one weekend because of homework, but it also allows you to learn from great teachers who dedicate a significant amount of their time to help you. Junior year does have a lot of negatives, and the stress can hurt, but it also has a good amount of positives that people often overlook.

Waez Umer
staff writer   

Graphics: Erin Kim

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