Why Junior Year Has Been the Worst Year of My Life

Ryan McGuire, Assistant Editor

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Junior year: dreaded by many, feared by most, notorious for the tremendous amounts of pressure loaded onto students of all levels.  Regarded by most colleges as the make-you-or-break-you year, junior year is often the cause of  severe anxiety, stress, and other mental disorders. It is faced by teens all around the U.S. as they prepare for standardized tests, clubs, and begin to realize the once distant picture of their future is now only a year away.

On top of standardized tests, junior year is also the year most kids step up to leadership positions within their club or sports team: between academics and extracurriculars, handling life as a high school junior is an anomaly to most ADULTS.  Assigning research paper after research paper, piling on hours (that sometimes reach the double digits) of homework per night, while at the same time preaching the importance of participation in clubs or other activities at the school is not an uncommon find amongst teachers.  While a few teachers are noted for their high AP passing rates or good teaching style, several students actually cower to find out at orientation that they were placed in another teacher’s class; not to fear, not every teacher is scary, but the infamously difficult teachers here at LMHS make sure the possibility remains a reality.

Junior Rashelle Toro said “Junior year has sucked; I’m a pretty positive person, but this year has really crushed me.  I’m constantly worried about my GPA, and the looming SAT isn’t helpful either.  On top of that, I want to start looking for a job, but with what time?  Between studying, cross country and track practice, and club I just can’t seem to find a healthy balance.”

Besides school-related activities, the best schools prefer employed high schoolers as well, to show they can manage responsibilities; as if volunteering, studying, and being involved doesn’t prove this enough.  There are many options out there for those who wish to become employed, whether you want to work in fast food, retail, or another field, however finding a job is much more difficult when your answer to the interview questions “how many hours per week can you work?” doesn’t reach a sufficient amount.

When it comes to college expectations, balance is the key.  But this truly seems quite hypocritical, as the top schools only accept kids who possess all of the following characteristics: top of their class, president and founder of multiple clubs and nonprofit organizations, 200+ hours of community service at a meaningful place, and perfect SAT/ACT scores.  This list, although proven to be doable, isn’t ideal for fitting in in what is supposed to make up the “best years of your life”.

In the end, junior year will crush your soul.