The Year to FearSunday, November 13, 2011 By Zach Khan
Why is it that junior year is perceived as the most difficult, academically challenging year of a student’s high school career? Is it the result of schedules filled with rigorous courses and several extracurricular activities? Or is it the thought that it is the last full year of courses before college applications? The studying for SATs adds its own fair share of work also. When all these factors are crammed into one entity, it is no wonder that 11th grade is widely regarded as the toughest year a student faces in high school. In terms of taking difficult classes, junior year opens many doors for students, giving them the chance to take the highest possible course levels a high school may offer, stressing a more intense rigor than seen in freshman and sophomore years. Perhaps putting these courses on one’s schedule is a desire to make up for less-satisfactory results in the two years prior, but because the weight of these courses is much heavier, consideration is necessary. “I have a very demanding schedule this year, which makes me nervous for the rest of the year, especially with the SAT to study for. Junior year is definitely important, so there is a lot of pressure to do well,” remarks junior Erika Kindsfather. Juggling extracurricular activities also becomes another stress factor, stacking additively with coursework. Whether it is trying to maintain a few sports, which take up significantly longer time than a regular school day, or participating in several clubs, any addition consumes valuable free time. Some extracurriculars however, can relieve stress; by having a sport, you can take your mind off the work from a school day and regain the energy to do assignments once you get home. I couldn’t imagine going straight home from school and doing work without the mental break running is able to give. I strongly believe that students become much more academically mature throughout high school, granted it is a four-year period in which most of us mature from adolescence. That said, I personally feel as if I have come a long way since my freshman year, and don’t think that my freshman self could be compared to my current self. We learn our priorities as we age and are able to correlate that to the work ethic we apply in academics. Junior year is the last full year in which a student is able to show off his or her academic capability, through demonstrating sufficient results in tough classes and receiving good results on AP exams and SATs. “Junior year had a lot of ups and downs. It’s definitely stressful because there’s a tendency to blow standardized testing out of proportion, and an immense pressure to churn out good grades. In the end though, it’s all about perspective. Sleepless nights aren’t worth trivial test scores. If you put forth your best effort while maintaining a balance, then junior year wont be as much of a challenge,” concludes senior Ben Cohen.