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Delaying Priorities

Posted 12/12/2022 by Makayla Vasquez

Junior year is a stressful time for everyone. photo by Makayla Vasquez

A Guide To A (Somewhat) Stress-Free Junior Year

Everyone says that junior year is the hardest year of high school, but every year has its challenges. During freshman year, you’re at the bottom of the food chain in a brand new school, trying to make new friends and balance new classes and upperclassmen that don’t particularly enjoy your presence. Sophomore year, you’re not a freshman but not an upperclassman. It’s an awkward stage. Senior year is basically the end. You have a few classes, still deciding on colleges or your next steps after graduation, ready to be done with high school. Then there’s junior year. 

As the first semester of junior year comes to an end, I’ve started to grasp just how real everything is. In previous years I’ve always been pretty good in school. Despite being a huge procrastinator, completing assignments and turning them in on time even at the last minute is a specialty of mine. However, this year things have been completely different. Taking all honors classes, an AP class, being on the yearbook and newspaper staff, working a part time job, and on top of everything missing eight days of school for the Balarat program has only created chaos. I’ve already taken the PSAT, which means the next one in the spring is the real deal. Not only do juniors have to take the SAT and Accuplacer, it’s the year to start thinking about college. Traditionally, junior year is the year where you should start looking into different schools and thinking about what the next steps are. In the long run, a year and a half is not very long. This year in particular feels faster than ever. In the blink of an eye, we’re a week out from winter break and time is flying by. Reflecting on this first semester and thinking about the spring semester there’s many things I want to do in the spring that I wish I could go back and do differently. 

  1. Stay organized. I know it seems obvious. Why would you not stay organized? I like to think I’m an organized person who keeps track of everything, which, for the most part, I do. However, I was not prepared for the workload this semester brought upon. Writing down on paper – or something you can easily mark off when completed – everything that needs to be done within a certain time frame is greatly beneficial to me; that is when I actually do it. Planning and keeping track of assignments and other important deadlines helps get stuff done.
  2. FOMO is real but so are failing grades. Like many, I enjoy spending my free time with my group of friends. I would much rather be with everyone having fun than in a classroom trying to understand Pre-Calculus and my test scores definitely show that. It is important to remember that there will be plenty of opportunities to spend time with friends but the semester eventually ends as well as the deadline for taking reassessments. Utilize the time teachers are giving to their students and get the help you might desperately need. 
  3. My biggest and most hypocritical piece of advice: whatever you do, do not procrastinate. While I have no room to talk about procrastination (writing this the day my draft is due and all), it is the biggest key to having a successful high school year. Putting things off to the last minute is great in the moment until you absolutely have no choice but to do an entire assignment in an hour, which results in an increase in stress for you and a lack of quality in your work. Believe me, I’m basically a pro procrastinator and have been for years. A favorite quote of Ms. Adair’s that I practically live by is, “if you leave it until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do!” Your future self will thank you for being punctual. 

I will admit, I have little room to talk about being on top of school and having a good year. Learn from my mistakes and don’t create unnecessary stress for yourself. It’s not worth the time and energy. Remember that after junior year, you only have one year left of high school, so make it count.