Since the first day of high school, you have probably heard countless horror stories of a student’s junior year. Over the years, it has been labeled the most important year of your high school career. Stress levels are through the roof, homework is exhausting, the SAT and ACT are getting closer, and it all feels so overwhelming. We keep hearing how college is on the horizon and that this is the year that can ultimately decide our success for the future. At the moment, it is hard to even believe people survived, but they did! The question then becomes how. How do you survive high school’s most treacherous year? Although junior year is going to be a tough one, it can also be a wonderful year to look back on. Here are a few tips on how to lift the pressure off your shoulders and juggle all that comes with being a junior in high school.
First, your health is the number one priority. It is very easy to dive into your school work and get stuck on the train of stress. Learn to reward yourself with breaks, remember to eat and drink, and most importantly sleep. This goes for all high school students because your sleep is a key factor when it comes to your academic performance. Fatigue and tiredness tend to reduce motivation and focus. Sleep is like food for your brain, so make sure you are getting enough of it. For several students, sleep is often put on the back burner due to heavy homework loads. However, with more sleep comes more focus. Also, more focus can even lead to tackling tasks more efficiently.
In addition to your health, remember that you are still a teenager. Learn to balance having fun and performing well in school. Years from now, you will most likely want to remember the memories you made with friends in high school and not the multiple break downs and anxiety attacks. This correlates with giving yourself a well-deserved break. Attend athletic events, see a movie, or grab dinner with friends. In the end, school is very important, but so is living your life to the fullest.
These days it is really easy to pile on multiple extracurricular activities. Learn to say no once in a while. Personally, I see my friends doing various clubs and sports, and it makes me want to do them too. However, I later find myself stressing even more than I was before. Do the things that mean the most to you. Colleges are going to want to see someone who is passionate about what they are doing. It is better to do things you know you can do well rather than doing everything possible just to fill up your resume. For this reason, your passions are what will make you stand out to colleges. During your junior year, you will need to learn how to make certain sacrifices, but it is something that will come in handy later in life.
Now comes the SAT and ACT talk. Testing is the last thing we look forward to, but you can do it. Facing the standardized test is never fun, but being prepared is the way to go. Sadly, test scores do not go up overnight. Find test preparations and other ways to enhance your chance of a obtaining a great score. Also, study smart. If you know you are good in certain sections, study the areas that are your weak points. Grow familiar with the formatting of these tests; that way you have a better idea of what to expect.
There are some ways to make this year easier. Start by staying organized and on top of things. Teachers will be expecting more from you this year, so make sure you do not fall behind. Use the weekends to your advantage. Have some fun with your friends or family, but try getting a head start on the week to come. Remember to use your teachers as a resource. You may not love every teacher, but meet with one that you know helps the most. After all, there is always going to be someone out there willing to help you. Also, do your best to stay positive. Trust me on this one; give yourself some time to relax. Let your mind have some cool down time after a hectic week. As important as school is, your health is important too.
Overall, it is really easy to crack under the pressure of junior year, but it does not have to be terrifying. Remember that being a junior means you are an upperclassman! Even though being a junior will bring some difficulties, there is still so much to look forward to this year. Do not forget that this will soon be in the past. Work hard, and in a few years, you can look back on this year knowing you blew it out of the water. Good luck!