Junior Year. It’s A Lot.


Junior year. It’s notoriously rough. You feel pressured to take two college classes, Honors Biology, and some of us can take Pre-Calc and Calculus. We have extracurriculars, jobs, and sports, and we still have to somehow find time to spend time with family and friends and make memories. It’s difficult and overwhelming, and sometimes we wish it all could just stop. But it probably won’t. These next six years are going to affect our lives the most, and we are just getting started. 

Classes. Where do I even begin? I was completely lost at the end of last year when it came to my junior-year classes. The class I was debating taking the most: West Civ. To me, West Civ was scary. It was a college class, and all I heard from the class above me was “Got to study for the West Civ test!” “We have a West Civ test coming up that I know I’m going to fail!” Hearing these people talk about a class like that is scary, especially when you were going to take it! I decided to talk to some of my then-junior friends about it, and I decided that I was going to just take World History instead. But, I was still going to take American Lit and Biology Honors. English has always been my favorite subject, so that class was a no-brainer for me. And I really wanted to take Biology honors so that I could have Mrs. Lyons. 

And the cherry on top for all my “difficult classes” would be Digital Media. Junior year is really important in your high school career. This is when you really start to think about what you want to do with your life, and so you start to take classes that will interest you and help you grow. The career I really want to focus on is being a Photojournalist, so this class would greatly impact me. I’ve been a part of the staff since my freshman year, but this year I get to act as the Executive Editor, which to me, was a nerve-racking title, and I thought it would be a lot of added pressure on me. And while it has taken up some of my free time, I wouldn’t change it for anything. This year I think I have really grown as a journalist, and I’ve loved learning every new thing that I’ve been taught.

I also made the decision last year to drop choir, so I could have a study hall. This is definitely one of the best decisions I think I have made. While I do miss the environment, I realize that I don’t miss all the time it took. I have appreciated this study hall so much this year. I think that having a study hall, especially during your junior year, is much needed. The amount of homework and studying I get done during that time has really saved me because I also have a job.

Let me just say, I was terrified to have a job my junior year. I’m lucky enough that my work schedule is flexible, and I can change it each week, but I still have to work. The older you get, the more pressure there is to work and start saving money. All I can think about sometimes is saving money for college, (or spending it on coffee) and in order to do that, I have to work more hours. And on top of working, you have all the homework and studying you can’t get done during a study hall. But right now is a good “practice time” if you are going to work during college. I think being able to juggle school and a job is a great skill to have.

But wait. Now we have to through sports or extracurricular activities into the mix. Personally, I’m not in any sports, so I can’t really speak much on that, but I am in Speech. This year, I decided to do two events, One Act and Group Improv. Each group has to have two practices a week, so that’s already four practices in a week, along with homework/studying and working at least three times a week. Three out of four of my practices are after school as well, so that makes it really difficult to find time to work, and do other activities.

And the final thing that we have to add to our schedule is making time for families and friends, and maintaining those relationships. After I spend 7 and a half hours at school, one hour at speech rehearsal, and 4+ hours at work, I am still expected to spend time with my family at home. That’s at least 12 and half hours of straight work, and it can become exhausting after doing it 3 to 5 times each week. And this isn’t even including homework over the weekends and still having to go to work and volunteer on Saturday and Sunday. 

So once again, junior year. It’s a lot. You’re expected to succeed because of college; you’re expected to be able to do it all and remember everything. You’re expected to still work to save money for college and still spend time with your family and make them a priority. From personal experience, it’s overwhelming and difficult. 

Even during this difficult time, I have made the effort for downtime and tried to relax more often. It sometimes comes at the expense of maybe not working 3 to 4 times a week, or maybe not going to a basketball game. But in the end, I appreciated that time to relax, catch up on some reading or use that time to play games with friends or my family. Knowing how to budget your time during this year is critical. It took me a while to figure out my schedule, but once I figured it out, it made this year much easier…so far.