The Ups and Downs of Junior Year


Erin Fuller, Staff Writer

It’s the second semester of junior year, and I’ve kinda gotten into a groove.

The workload is still huge and stressful, but I’m used to it now. I would have thought that the stress and anxiety would still be drop-kicking me in the butt by now, but it’s come down to a dull roar. I have all of my homework under control, I have the motivation to do my work, and my mental health is doing a lot better than it was first semester.

Why is that? Why do I suddenly feel okay for the first time this year? And does anyone else feel like this? I asked around.

“I think it’s way more stressful,” Emily Stenger (11) said. “AP Lang is really hard, and I’m getting a lot more assignments and more tests, and you’re required to remember everything from last semester.”

Maryna Bailey (11) agrees. “I think it’s getting harder just because of the amount of work that’s still being piled on to students,” she said.

This was unexpected. I thought other kids were getting the hang of it, but apparently it’s getting harder.

“Everything’s getting worse because we have the SATs coming up,” Hannah Grennan (11) said. “Reality is starting to hit with college and the SATs and all that.”

“This week alone has been the worst part of junior year for me,” Mia Gallegos (11) said. “I had a mental breakdown at practice, and my AP classes are killing me.”

Mia is on varsity poms and has been since freshman year. Poms is a year-long sport and a massive commitment. Junior year has the reputation of being the hardest year of high school, and adding on with extracurriculars doesn’t help.

I’m a theatre kid, and even though I’ve been through two shows and a musical already, I’ve been doing ok. I get out of rehearsal around 9 at night, and I still find the time to get my work done. Now that theatre’s winding down and we’re preparing for one last show (the student-directed one-acts, which is typically just a bunch of small shows and not a huge commitment), I’m in a zone.

Back to the question: why do I feel good about where I am?

First semester I was slammed. I wasn’t prepared going into junior year, and I learned it the hard way. The amount and difficulty of the work ahead of me jumped me. I was panicking, stressing, falling asleep in classes.

Now I’m here, under control and still trying to pass. It makes me wonder if it was supposed to happen this way.

Life is full of first and second semesters. Sometimes you jump into the unknown with nothing and no one to help you. School, jobs, relationships, friendships, family; they’re not supposed to be easy. Challenges help (if not force) individuals to grow, and it’s for the better.

“I think many of the classes junior year are actually harder than college freshmen classes,” Ms. Binion, LA teacher, said. “It ramps up tremendously from sophomore year by necessity, and that is something that is often shocking and challenging for kids, but ultimately they end up making it out.”

I understand my fellow juniors and what they’re going through, and I hope they start to feel what I’m feeling. For the sophomores who have no idea what’s coming up…

Good luck.