How to Survive Junior Year, by Alexandria Naftchi

If you are in high school, you probably have heard of/experienced the stress associated with being a junior. Junior year is the time when you start your AP classes, take your SATs/ACTs, and generally have a lot on your plate. Here are some major tips to help make your junior year a little bit less torturous.

1. Keep up with your schoolwork. Missing one or two assignments here and there is generally not detrimental to your grades or stress level, but do not willfully procrastinate on several weeks’ worth of homework at a time. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but unless you budget your time wisely, you will end up with a large stack of past-due homework during breaks and weekends instead of guilt-free fun, your own life, and current homewor. In addition, it is easier on your teachers if you turn in your stuff on time, your grades stay high throughout the year, and your parents have one fewer reason to get on your case about school.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for assistance.

a. Junior year is difficult, and your teachers understand. If everyone in your class desperately needs a deadline pushed back a couple days, notify the teacher in advance that everyone needs more time. Teachers will listen to the cries of the stressed-out teenagers.

b. If you are struggling with a concept in one of your courses or need an experienced eye to briefly skim an essay, talk to the corresponding subject’s teacher (if you are at a complete loss for what to do, preferably more than a day before an exam or due date for a paper). Asking for help is never something to be ashamed of and it can save your grade.

3. Be kind to others, but place the importance of your self-image above what others may think about you.  Junior year is difficult as it is; don’t try to make it harder on others. Everyone is equally stressed out, and no one needs rumors flying around to make them even more stressed. Think about what you are going to say about someone before you say it. On the same coin, if people end up talking behind your back (in school or in general), do not let people’s occasionally caustic rumors ruin your self-esteem. There is a line in The Help that sums up the optimal attitude for attacking junior year: “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”

Good luck to all incoming juniors. You will need it.