Dear Rising Juniors [OPINION]


Welcome to the second half of your high school career. You’re upperclassmen now which means every underclassman will get 10 times more annoying and your classes will seem to get 10 times harder. Everyone always warns you about how hard it is to get through junior year and you don’t get it until you’re in it. So, here’s my advice as a junior with less than a week left. 

First, you need to know yourself. Unless your goal is to get a record for the most AP classes taken in junior year (I promise, you won’t win), choose the classes you know you’ll do well in. For example, I’m an English/Social Studies person, as I always have been, and just knowing that about myself led me in the right direction. I dropped down to CP Precalculus from taking Honors level the past two years and I switched out of Honors Physiology and Anatomy to take AP Environmental Science. Even though taking an AP-level science was scary at first, I knew I’d do better with the class’s content when compared to physics or anatomy. I knew myself and didn’t expect change or over-exaggerate my ability to handle it all and it worked out very well for me. Junior year is the peak of your high school resume and what colleges will emphasize most in the application process, so don’t crash and burn. Yes, be rigorous, but in the places, you can shine.  

Second, find your balance. Go to sports games, and performing arts performances, and dress up for spirit days for yourself, and don’t try to fit all of your firsts and lasts into your senior year. Be involved now.  Junior year is demanding and challenging if you do it right, and you have to handle it in sections. I wouldn’t have made it through finals or AP season without my friends and going out with them just to not be studying. Also, be as involved as you can in clubs or activities that you really care about. When you’re not working on school, get better at your sport, see if you can do anything for the club(s) you’re interested in, and do research on what you want for yourself in the future. The only way to make it is to find things to look forward to and recognize that your grades are a small part of your life. 

Third, junioritis is real and hits you hard. So far you’ve been constantly evolving but, as a junior, you’re comfortable. Hopefully, you chose good classes because doing work you couldn’t care less about is impossible. You’ll be burnt out and there will be times you just lay in your bed and don’t do anything and that’s ok. Expect to be tired every day. Everything will be harder for no reason other than that it’s your junior year and you’re bored with everything- Grandview, routines, homework, people, everything. That’s why balance and your classes matter so much because your grades depend on your interest at this point. The mountain that is junioritis is the hardest hike I’ve ever done in my life, but the only way out is through. 

I wish I understood what people meant when they said junior year is misery. It’s rough and it will feel long, but you have to find reasons to keep going. Find the friends who never fail to make you smile, do the things you like, and lean into the things that motivate you. I encourage everyone I know to adopt “Hype Fridays”, something I made up where every Friday I’d play my hype playlist to celebrate just for making it through the week. The battle feels more like a war, but treat every small step as a win and you’ll make it.