True or False: Junior Year is the Hardest Year of High School

As you may have heard, junior year is considered the hardest year of high school. Having gone through junior year I can confirm that statement is very TRUE. However, I look back on my junior year very fondly because I planned a service trip to Guatemala during the summer after junior year and I started an internship at an education technology start-up company, CollegeFindMe. 

Balancing school and extracurriculars and then adding standardized tests and the college application process was really stressful, but what helped me get through junior year was having the mindset that I am building my future and that all of my hard work will pay off. Here are some tips based on stuff I did and what I wish I’d known heading into this hectic year. I also included the skills you’ll learn – these are great to mention in college essays and interviews!

What I’m glad I did:

  • Tip #1: Have a consistent routine/balance of all of your activities
    • Skill: Time management 
    • Personal Experience: At times, I felt like I had too much going on and felt so overwhelmed. I finally made a list of what activities were most important to me. I was working hard in school and studying for tests, but I still had something to look forward to. 
  • Tip #2: Take care of yourself (get enough sleep, etc.)
    • Skill: Self-Care 
    • Personal Experience: I would often eat lunch outside with my friends or plan some fun things over the weekend to destress. And face masks are very relaxing! 
  • Tip #3: Develop good study habits
    • Skill: Academic awareness
    • Personal Experience: Before I started my internship during junior year, I would often wait until after dinner on a weeknight or Sunday night to get my homework done. While I was interning, I started doing homework/studying during free periods. I was able to avoid staying up too late cramming during the week and spending more time with my friends on weekends.  
  • Tip #4: Organize everything college-related in one place (keep track of all username and passwords made for college related accounts, etc.)
    • Skill: Organization
    • Personal Experience: I kept an Excel worksheet and a Google folder with all my college application stuff and it made it very easy to find documents when I needed them. I highly recommend doing this!

What I wish I had known…

  • Tip #5: Schedule/plan out important tasks and dates (SAT or ACT exams, etc.)
    • Skill: Planning ahead 
    • Personal Experience: I took the SATs 3 times and the last time I took it was my first semester of senior year which I kind of wish I had taken it earlier because it just added to the stress of all the college application stuff going on that fall. 
  • Final Tip: Keep doing the things that make you happy. It will be a stressful year, but it can also be a fun one.  

Utilizing some of these tips and honestly just being your best self is really going to help you get through your junior year. Keep in mind that, yes, you should work hard and prepare for your academic future, but do not take the memories you make this year for granted. Make sure that you also make time for your friends and family. I wish you the best of luck this year!

Osin