It’s known as the time when high school classes get seriously hard. You also have to start looking at colleges and taking the SAT. On top of all this extra work, your grades need to be especially high, as admissions officers look at junior year very closely when making their decisions.
My third year of high school was full of surprises. I knew it would be difficult, but I wasn’t fully aware of the drama and stress that I would face.
Here are some of the things I never expected…
1. Friendships change.
Truth: you won’t walk out of high school with the same people you walked in with. Sometimes you’ll get in fights and other times you’ll simply drift apart. But just don’t be surprised if you lose and/or gain friends.
Junior year can be a pivotal point in the social lives of many. By this time, everyone is fully settled into high school. They’ve gotten to know a lot of different people and can make a decision about whom they want to spend the next few years with.
2. The challenge of balancing standardized testing and schoolwork
Of course I knew I had to do homework and I knew I had to take the SAT. But I never put together that I would have to manage both simultaneously.
School by itself is hard enough. I did not have tons of extra free time before junior year. So another item on my to-do list was not exactly welcome.
It helps to make a schedule for yourself so you can put aside time to study for standardized tests every week. Otherwise, I would forget, as I was more focused on schoolwork.
3. Test scores and college research –> Drama
Applying to colleges is exciting! But it also comes with a lot of pressure. Because it’s a highly competitive process, everyone is always so curious about what everyone else is doing.
Standardized testing brings in a whole new level of competition. This can be hard for many students because some people aren’t naturally good at taking standardized tests. Meanwhile, others are great at standardized test taking. Jealous gossip becomes common when scores are released.
College research can also lead to drama. Some students worry that their top-choice college will only take a few students from one high school. Worried about their acceptance, they get into fights with other people from their grade who want to apply to that college.
4. Prom isn’t always as easy and fun as it seems.
Prom is supposed to be a fun night out with friends. But the intense hype that surrounds the dance actually makes it sort of overrated. Then there’s the struggle of finding a date, a pre-prom party and an after-prom party.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to prom. In fact, I think it’s an important part of high school that everyone should experience. But don’t expect a perfect fairytale because things don’t always go so smoothly…
5. Being jealous of the seniors
When you finally make it to the end of the year, you’re super excited! Junior year is complete! Then you realize you have another half year full of college stress. Better get started on those applications.
Meanwhile, the seniors are partying it up. They’re completely done and get to head off to an exciting new chapter of their lives. It can be agonizing to watch them celebrate. But have faith. That will be you in just one year.