By Keisha Aboagye
June is already here, which means the start of a new school year will soon follow. Freshmen are excited as they move up the social chain and have become accustomed to the ins and outs of high school life. Juniors are relieved to be through with, perhaps, the most stressful year they’ve encountered in high school, and are beginning to prepare to apply to college. Seniors are thrilled to have completed their high school experience and soon embark on a new journey in college. But sophomores? They are fear-stricken. It is understandable, since junior year is usually the year when students take the most rigorous courses, the SAT I/SAT II, AP exams or the ACT while pursing leadership roles in their various extracurricular activities. Sophomores should not fear, however, for this survival guide will ensure a smooth junior year.
- Don’t bite more than you can chew! Yes, it is true that junior year is the “most important” year of high school because this is the year colleges generally select to evaluate your grades. So, you should be pursuing the most rigorous courses available and involving yourself in extracurricular activities. This does NOT mean, however, that you should overload yourself with more than you can handle. Take a decent number of AP classes, ones to which you know you’ll have time to dedicate sufficient study time. DON’T take numerous AP classes for the sake of “impressing” colleges. In terms of extracurricular activities, find one or two activities that you are genuinely interested in, and stick with them. Don’t join 5+ clubs for the sake of looking good on your college application if you know you are not passionate about them. Colleges CAN sense where your passion lies.
- Time-management, time-management, time-management! Procrastination is an issue that many students face. If it is not dealt with properly, it can result in sleepless nights, stress, or incomplete assignments. Complete your assigned tasks either well ahead of time or in a timely fashion. DO NOT wait until the last minute to complete assignments; it will only hurt you in the end and cause you to feel overwhelmed!
- Prepare for standardized tests and AP tests early. Start preparing for the SAT I/SAT II, ACT, or AP tests in the beginning of the school year. It is best to review and study throughout the school year so that by the time you have to actually take these tests, you will be adequately prepared. Enroll in a test prep course or study at your own pace at home.
- It’s never too early to begin the college process! Time flies, and before you know it, your junior year will be over and you will be applying to college. Take advantage of any offered college trips. Visit various colleges, attend college fairs, and speak with campus representatives. Figure out your needs and wants in a college, and gain a general idea of the type of college you’d like to attend.
It is good to reward yourself! Whenever you feel stressed out, take a break and relax. Enjoy your favorite ice-cream or catch up on your favorite TV show. Always keep in mind the ultimate goal, and know that your hard work will be rewarded in due time.
Surviving junior year will not be an easy task, but if the tips given above are taken into consideration and applied, it is guaranteed that your stress will be significantly decreased.