If one consistent fact has remained true throughout the history of education, it's that junior year of high school is the absolute worst. You're halfway through your high school career, and you've only started to get into the swing of things after wrapping your sophomore year. Within the blink of an eye, you're a junior — all of a sudden, high school feels a lot more complicated and overwhelming.
Are you starting to feel the heat of your junior year? Maybe you felt the temperature spike on your first day when you realized that your workload was about to increase exponentially, especially with the looming pressure of your first SAT/ACT on the horizon. Well, here's the bad news: there's no way to skip over your junior year of high school. On the other hand, here's the good news: you're not the first junior year to feel this way, and you certainly won't be the last.
It is totally normal to feel the pressure of your junior year; frankly, we'd be concerned if you weren't at all anxious about how the rest of your school is going to pan out. Luckily, you've come to the right place. We've gathered four amazing tips for how to not only survive your junior year, but flourish and bring your A-game to your academics.
1. Get a notebook and write everything down.
Where do you keep track of all your most important information? Most likely, you can access everything you want and need on your phone, tablet, or some other device involving a Wi-Fi connection and a screen. Therefore, it might surprise you to learn that there was once a time in which students needed to physically write down anything crucial that they needed to remember later on. Often, students kept track of these tidbits of information using notebooks!
Since you're probably not reading this in the 25th century, notebooks still exist, and you can buy one at your local dollar store. While it might be more convenient to use your Calendar or Notes apps, studies have shown that you're more likely to remember a note that you've physically written down than a note you typed up on your phone. Moreover, using a physical notebook will help you focus more clearly because you won't be able to succumb to the temptations of gaming apps or social media.
Whether it's for keeping track of your schoolwork or mapping out your college admissions strategy, using a notebook is a fantastic tool for navigating the chaos of your high school junior year.
2. Think about how you budget your time.
Often, the biggest challenges with high school have less to do with the difficulty of the coursework and more to do with the volume. When you're already juggling extracurricular activities, SAT/ACT prep courses, and part-time jobs, it's not exactly considerate of your teachers to add a handful of mid-terms and massive group projects into the mix. But hey, that's junior year for you!
Instead of trying to fight against the current, the best course of action is to flow with the influx of assignments. How do you do this when you can barely keep your head above water? Your life raft is your aforementioned notebook: write a daily to-do list in which you work out your top priorities for the day. What absolutely needs to be accomplished before you hit your pillow that night? Those items will rest at the top of your list. Anything that isn't completed can be prioritized the following day.
By keeping track of how you budget your time, you will be able to complete all your tasks with confidence and calm because you aren't scrambling to finish too many tasks at once. As the old saying goes, work smart, not hard!
3. Don't overextend yourself!
You've probably been told about the importance of having extracurricular activities on your high school transcript, especially for your junior year. These activities will go a long way toward boosting your student profile, showing college admissions officers the different sides of your personality that grades and numbers won't reveal. However, there is such a thing as taking on too many extracurriculars.
Your priorities should still rest with your academics. If an extracurricular is going to prevent you from accomplishing your schoolwork, you need to drop it from your schedule. Understanding your limits is a vital step toward surviving your junior year of high school.
4. Reach out and ask for help!
Junior year is hard enough — why do you need to make it harder on yourself? If you need help, there is no reason to suffer in silence. There are plenty of resources available to any student who is feeling lost, anxious, or overwhelmed. Talk to your guidance counselor or a teacher you can trust. Let your parents know that you're having trouble meeting your goals and you need assistance. If you don't even know where to start with your SAT/ACT prep, click here for a free consultation to find the approach that works best for you.
No student is an island — reach out, ask for help, and continue going the distance. Your junior year may be challenging, but it's not impossible.