Travails of Junior Year

Renee Pascoe


“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I think Ferris Bueller said it best in the classic 1986 comedy, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Almost two months into my junior year, I feel like high school is already slipping through my fingertips, and 11th grade has already proven itself to be a handful. Between the various classes I’m taking (AP Chemistry, AP United States History, Honors Precalc, Honors English, Spanish 4, and Honors Physics) and after school activities and sports, it seems like there is not enough time to get everything done and balance school, sleep, family, and friends. 

Before going into junior year, I knew it would be difficult. I’d grown up hearing from older students and parents that junior year is the most difficult year of high school, and the one that carries the most weight. However, I had a very positive attitude going into this school year and was determined to not let stress go to my head. I soon realized how much I underestimated the difficulty of junior year, and about a month into this year, it finally hit me the first time I stayed up late doing homework. In freshman and sophomore year, I’d easily complete all of my homework before 11 o’clock, but on this night, I finished around 2 in the morning. I knew I was working late but didn’t realize just how late it was until I finished writing my DBQ for history. When I checked my phone for the first time in hours and read the time, I was shocked at how much time had passed by while I was at work. That night (well, morning) it finally registered in my head that junior year would not be an easy feat like the last two years, and this understanding is reaffirmed at least once a week when I stay up completing homework much later than I expect.

We all say that school is stressful, but in my experience, junior year is the most stressful. To me, junior year is moving by significantly faster than the last two years of school. It feels as if school days inch by, but before we know it we’ve already been in school for two months. It seems as if life is moving too fast, but too slow all at the same time, and I find it hard to slow down for a moment and focus on the present in the fast paced environment of junior year. I know that myself and many others have been so caught up with things we feel are necessary for success in the future– going on college visits, studying for the SATs, getting community service hours, or participating in clubs– that we are no longer living in the present. It’s inevitable and easy to get caught up about what we’ll do and where we’ll go in the future, but it is essential to step back from work and studying to just enjoy where we are now. We might have hopes and dreams for the future, whether it’s getting a good grade on a test or getting into a dream college, but we must not forget to appreciate what we have right now- our relationships with family and friends and make the most of the present. Life moves too quickly to forget about enjoying life in the present: our teenage years will fly by, and before we know it, we’ll be off to college. As high schoolers, we should take time to pause and, for a moment, forget about any stress because, eventually, we will all end up where we’re meant to be.