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How to survive junior year

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How did I survive junior year? Honestly, I don’t know. But for anyone that is freaking out that junior year is going to be the hardest year of their lives or that they won’t be able to handle the pressure, I do have some tips that may help tame those fears.

As I started the year off, with the highest motivation to do well I might add, I found myself sitting in AP Physics and asking myself the question, “Why am I sitting in AP physics?” Being in that class was not meant for me from the beginning of high school, and based on many factors, I realized that being in this class was hurting me more than helping me. Already taking APUSH and AP Lang, I confidently dropped out of AP Physics, and to this day have no regrets. That would be my first tip: life is about conquering challenges, but there comes a point where you must work smarter, not harder. That means you don’t have to flood your schedule with a crazy amount of AP classes or 20 extracurriculars, and you don’t need to risk your health based on what the numbers say. Although I am a big advocate on taking risks, one of the ways that may help you get through this year-if you can’t handle it already-is to simply lighten the load; it truly does not show signs of weakness.

“Now that I’m drowning in this class I’m wondering if it was really worth it. If I had taken a class that I had more interest in then I would probably be doing better. I’m not really sure which is better: to get a C in an AP class or an A in a regular class. AP physics is really hard and I’m afraid it will bring down my unweighted GPA and my self-esteem,” said Nya Marie on surviving junior year of high school in The Huffington Post.

There is a time to procrastinate, and there is a time not to; junior year promotes the latter. One of my biggest mistakes first semester was thinking that I can get by doing everything last minute, but I deeply regretted it when finals came around. As you know, this is an extremely important time in your high school career; be strong and fight the temptation to procrastinate. It will save you a ton of stress in the long run and may even be a deciding factor in how your GPA turns out, as it was for me.

Although it seems like a bit of a drastic measure, putting things in perspective of what’s at stake for one’s future reminds us how much the little things matter. Sometimes things like completing a project or getting all our work done on time seem so trivial that they can’t possibly matter. But reminding ourselves that every little step really does add up to something big is the ultimate motivation to cease procrastinating,” said Inc.com on how procrastinating can negatively affect us.

Salamanders are tasty? Sally ate tomatoes? Or Scholastic Aptitude test? The dreaded SAT (and ACT) is one of the most stressful parts of junior year. Even if you don’t study for them (sorry mom), the pressure of getting a good score is always lingering in the back of your mind. For those who aren’t good test takers, remember that no matter what happens on this test, it is still just a test. It does not define nor predict your future, and it will not ruin your chances of doing anything you aspire to. With that in mind, conquer the ACT or SAT by first picking the one you actually want to focus on. Don’t waste your efforts on both when it is not necessary, and most colleges allow either of them. I personally chose the SAT due to my lack of interest in draining myself over the science portion, as we already established, science is not my strong suit. Once you choose a test and realize that it is not the determining factor of your life, you have already won half the battle. Now all you gotta do is section off some studying time based on your own need for it and take it a few times with at least a few months in between each time. And remember, it is just a test.

Balance, time management, standardized tests: they all embody what is junior year, but they do not define it. Your junior year will be most successful if you work hard and seek out help when you need it.

“Surround yourself with a bunch of supportive people because positive attitudes keep everyone motivated to work hard during a tough year,” said Kelly Wu (11).

So keep in mind that even though junior year bears the title of “the hardest year,” it doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to prevent that, and don’t take it too seriously because before you know it, it will fly by.

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The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School
How to survive junior year