Advice for Future Juniors

By Ella Ilg, Staff Writer

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As you close out your sophomore year, you can breathe a sigh of relief; you’re halfway finished with your high school career. Maybe you have a job over the summer, and hopefully, you’ve chosen some good classes for next year. Summer ends sooner than it should, and soon you’ll be thrown into the tsunami that is junior year. Throughout middle school and high school you’ve heard how hard junior year is, so here’s some advice to keep you from getting washed away in the waves.

Challenge Yourself- It seems counterproductive to put more on your plate during supposedly the most stressful year of school, but you’ll feel way more accomplished. I’ve found in my years as an honors student that honors classes have higher standards but give out significantly fewer worksheets and busy work that fill up your after-school schedule. If you haven’t taken honors classes so far, talk to your counselor and try to level up in subjects you’re getting A’s or B’s in. It’s a sure-fire way to appeal to colleges and at the end of the year, it makes you feel more accomplished.

Distribute Your Time- A serious part of junior year is not only managing your time but also distributing it in a way that makes sense. If you got (what you consider) a good score on your PSAT, don’t waste countless hours in prep classes or falling asleep over a Princeton Review book. If you got (what you consider) a horrible score, maybe try taking the ACT and seeing how you do or signing up for those prep classes. If you’re doing well in a class, save those hours of studying and focus more a class you’re struggling in. Knowing how to spend the time you saved is just as important as saving time in the first place.

Find ways to have fun- Junior year is stressful, but it’s also the year you turn 17. 17-year-olds don’t have a curfew in Illinois, a good amount of juniors have cars and if you don’t personally it’s likely you have a friend who does. Go to a midnight premiere, go to a mall out of town, go to prom and homecoming. If you have strict parents, there’s always fun things to do at home. You can find recipes and cook from scratch, play video games, or start a movie review blog. Find things that you find fun and set apart time for it. It’s like a cheat day on a diet, you aren’t going to be able to stick with a routine of studying and homework if you don’t give yourself time to relax.

Stay Involved with Your Passions- Junior year is a whirlwind and it is almost a guarantee that at one point you’re going to feel incredibly overwhelmed, but that shouldn’t be a reason to abandon your passions. Passions like sports, art, and clubs are things that make you want to go to school, and if you give up the thing that motivates you it will make junior year that much longer. It can be hard to persevere through the busy times, but it makes junior year way more tolerable.

It’s true that junior year is tough, but don’t allow that to scare you away. If I– a puddle of social anxiety and panic attacks– can survive junior year, any student can.

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