Junior Year is notorious for being the most difficult year in your high school journey. In reality, junior year is not that bad. Sure, you may be taking multiple APs, the SATs are right around the corner, and your parents and teachers are constantly stressing the importance of maintaining your GPA. But, with a couple of tips, you can endure the various challenges that this year poses.
- Take a vacation before junior year. Being such dedicated, hardworking students, chances are you have spent your summer doing something academic. To avoid school fatigue (which at my school we named “junioritis”), taking a mental break from studying is highly advisable. So, separate yourself from academics, if only for a couple of days. Take a hike on a nature trail. Go to the beach. Spend a day reading outside. Just get your mind off of school for a few days, so that your mind is fresh and ready to go on the first day of school.
- Try and limit the time you spend on your devices. In general, multitasking doesn’t work very well. Social media is incredibly distracting, as are Hulu and YouTube. You will probably get more done by doing a solid hour of work, then spending some time relaxing, rather than multitasking for an hour and a half. I have known people who would spend four hours doing homework for one class, just because they kept getting distracted. I’ve also known people who got distracted watching Hulu, only realizing around 9:00 that they hadn’t finished any of their homework. Don’t be one of those people.
- Do allow yourself to take breaks. If you try to work for extended periods of time, you’ll be extremely unproductive due to mental exhaustion. Take breaks every 1.5 to 2 hours, but don’t let those breaks drag on for hours. Keep them short but sweet.
- Get enough sleep. This piece of advice is repeated often. However, in reality, no junior is going to get the recommended nine to ten hours of sleep. While the term “enough sleep” varies from person to person—some can live off five hours of sleep, while others cannot function with less than seven hours—find a sleep schedule that allows you to be alert for the whole day.
- Focus on completing your homework. Even if it’s reading, your homework will help you study for tests. Don’t be one of those students who uses SparkNotes for everything, then does badly on exams that test the details from the text.
- Avoid cramming for the SAT. The SAT tests skills that cannot be learned the night prior to the exam. Cramming merely stresses you out, and does not help your performance on the test. Instead, make sure that you review your class materials and take practice tests starting weeks before the actual test. That way, the night before the test, you can focus on relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Don’t take on classes you cannot handle. Not everyone can take five APs and do well in all of them. If you can only handle one AP class, that’s completely fine. If you feel overwhelmed by Honors classes, take a couple regular classes. Colleges value an A in a regular class more than a C or a D in an AP or Honors class. If you are not sure what is best for you, talk to a teacher or a class counselor.
- Make sure to have some fun. Spend time with friends over the weekend. Join clubs that you find fun. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that school never takes over your life. Junior year is extremely important, but make sure that you maintain your sanity though all of the challenges you will confront.
Hopefully these tips help you have a fun, exciting, memorable, and productive junior year.