It’s the night before Junior year and panic has set in. Notoriously labeled “The Hardest Year of High School,” Junior year encompasses more advanced classes and copious amounts of schoolwork on top of extracurricular activities.
Freshman and Sophomore year: a simpler time. As a Freshman, school life is about adjustments and an introduction to coursework. Sophomore year, teachers expect more, but life is calm and the routes of the building have been mastered.
School sports and clubs are available for the choosing. They allow students a way to express themselves and take a break from schoolwork. Sports and clubs however, add a slight more amount of stress to the limited homework already assigned with after school practices and meetings to attend.
Junior Year: by now school life is second-hand nature. Friend groups are solidified, memberships to clubs and sports have been renewed, and students have learned to balance outside activities with schoolwork.
However, something is different this third year. Students find their schedules filled with tougher academic courses, and for some, an increasing number of AP course. These classes come with more coursework and time spent on homework. Garrett Smith, a senior, describes how time consuming Junior Year is, “I spent like an hour or two every night just on school things.”
The pressure mounts from outside, as well. Colleges tend to focus on Junior year grades, attendance, and participation in extra-curriculars. They know students take harder classes, participate in sports and clubs, and are preparing to send in college applications.
Junior Year can cause physical stress as well as mental issues. Students feel the pressure of accumulating homework, the ACT, AP exams, after school jobs, college applications, practices, and club meetings, all occurring during one school year. Many are also driving and paying for car insurance and gas for the first time. When asked about his mental health Junior year, Garrett Smith asked for his answer to be omitted.
Administration is optimistic about students and their ability to tackle “The Hardest Year of High School.” Coach Rosser points out that students tend to become more responsible and accountable, ̈It is like they realize how real life gets closer to graduation. ̈ However, he also stated, ̈Math gets really hard Junior year,̈ but through further conversation, he was upbeat and described Junior Year in a positive manner.
Is Junior year the hardest? It is time for the verdict. Through accounts from a former Junior and an Administrator, Junior Year seems to be two-faced. For students, it is an excruciating year, but the Administration believes we can succeed.
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