Yasmine’s Junior Year in Retrospect

Junior year has a reputation for being the hardest year of high school. From a time-consuming history paper to a never ending stream of SAT or ACT work, juniors truly have their work cut out for them. However, coming out of junior year I realized that all the talk surrounding the year and its unmanageable workload was overrated. I don’t mean to say that Junior year was breeze – it certainly wasn’t. However, my personal experience was that it was not significantly harder than sophomore year. In fact, I received the same amount of work from my teacher in junior year as I did in sophomore year.

The only reason Junior year felt more pressured than any other year of high school was because I was studying for my ACT. Despite all the intensity, however, I still managed to take breaks and hang out with friends while being organized and pacing myself. Things really slowed down once I finished with my standardized testing obligations. After finishing the ACT’s, junior year began to feel more like the first two years of high school.

Junior year also has some perks. Juniors are the second oldest in the school and therefore get the privilege of leaving the building. You’re no longer an entering freshman who is overwhelmed by the coursework, confused by the ABC schedule, and intimidated by the senior lounge next to your locker. You’re used to the school and can enjoy it a bit more. Being able to go out for lunch twice a was a huge change for me: it made me feel way more free and independent. Junior retreat is also a unique experience. The extended shabbaton, planned especially in the hope of relieving some of the stress, was a highlight of the year. 

Junior year is just another year of high school. There is still work, but most of the intensity is psychological: If you know how to budget your time well, it could be your favorite year.