Junior year: exasperating or easy?

Though every year of high school has its own challenges, junior year has a reputation for being especially difficult.

Hannah Piasecki, Design Editor

When asked if high school is a difficult experience, most students would agree that those four years are particularly challenging. Between tests, homework, and various new responsibilities, many students tend to find themselves in positions of stress. Numerous students, from current juniors to seniors, have expressed the sentiment that junior year is the most difficult year of a student’s high school career. 

I think universally junior year is often considered the most difficult year.

— principal Thomas Lietz

“Junior year makes me stressed out,” junior Chloe Spaulding said, sharing a common sentiment between other junior students.

There are numerous different challenges  juniors face that contribute to stress and hardship during the school year. Whether it’s a specific issue or a more general struggle, every student faces challenges.

“Junior year is the hardest,” Spaulding said, “because teachers just kind of shove SAT prep down your throat for the first few months.”

Because 11th grade is the first year that students take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), it’s no surprise that teachers put in a great deal of effort into getting their students prepared for the test. Still, that preparation can put pressure on students.

“I feel like we need to be more prepared for the SATs; I’ve gotten a little SAT prep, but not in my English class,” junior Delaney Hageman said. “I feel like we need to base at least one week on [SAT prep].”

However, the SAT isn’t the only test causing trouble for students.

“Tests seem to be getting harder,” junior Delaney Hageman said. “I had five tests back to back. It was terrible; I didn’t get to study for all of them.”

Overall, it could be said that junior year is just harder than sophomore year and senior year in terms of course curriculum. 

My advice is take a deep breath and realize it’s probably not as bad as [you] think it is.

— Lietz

“The thing that’s messing me up right now is German,” junior Keera Wyckhuys said. “And English, because I’m taking AP. AP [English 11] is significantly harder than Honors [English] 10.”

Adult perspectives also offer a special point of view, especially if they interact with all of the grade levels at UHS.

“I’m not certain which [year] would be highest in stress level,” Watterson said. “Senior and junior year both have different things that are going on that would cause stress and be quite difficult.”

While some are unsure of which year is the most challenging, others believe that junior year actually is the hardest year of high school.

“I think universally junior year is often considered the most difficult year,” principal Thomas Lietz said. 

The reasoning for Lietz’s opinion on junior year reflected that of many students.

“I think [junior year] is when classes amp up pretty high and where most kids take three, four AP classes for the first time sometimes,” Lietz said. “And on top of that, you have SAT prep and college applications.”

But all hope is not lost for high school juniors. Being open to advice could aid them in their journey through the school year.

“My advice is take a deep breath and realize it’s probably not as bad as [you] think it is, for one,” said Lietz. “Two, is to listen to [your] teachers because 90% of the struggle of junior year is because people are doing more than they need to in some ways.”

Though taking a step back and seeing some perspective of junior year may help, it won’t stop procrastination, a very prevalent practice among high school students.

“Don’t procrastinate or you will very much regret it,” senior Sanja Todorovik said.

If a student can knock out procrastination, their experience of junior year may be improved.

“The worst thing in junior year is quicksand,” Lietz said. “We procrastinate, put things off, and then when we try to move really quickly to get out, it just digs us deeper.”