Canvas painted with green, blue, white, and purple paint with words live life

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Junior Year of High School

Junior year of high school is a stressful year, but here are five things to remember that will make it a little easier.

Everyone says junior year is the hardest year of high school, and I have to admit they are right. I was blindsided with homework, extracurriculars, and the all-too-real prospect of standardized tests when I started my junior year. Within weeks, I was rushing to finish assignments at lunch and the majority of my friends were sleep deprived.

In summary: it was a mess. But with time, I eventually figured out how to navigate the situation and lived to tell the tale. Whether you’re a rising upperclassman looking for advice or a fellow survivor who can relate to the list below, here are a few things I wish I’d known before starting my junior year of high school.

1. Organization is key

Your courses will only be more challenging as you go up the ladder, so if you want to help yourself stay on task, you need to figure out a system for all your schoolwork. You can organize your assignments in binders or color-code each of your classes, but pick something that you can stick with. Since junior year can be a bit of a balancing act with all the activities you may be involved with, setting a system can make all the difference.

Related: How to Get Organized and Manage Time in High School

2. It’s okay to say no

While it may seem like a great idea to take five AP courses, play three varsity sports, and work a part-time job at the same time, it really isn’t. Know your limitations before you cram too much in your schedule, because overworking yourself isn’t beneficial to anyone—especially you. It’s perfectly fine to say no to a couple extra activities that you know you won’t have time for.

3. Do things you’re interested in

You shouldn’t join every activity for the sake of your future college applications. And while others may encourage you to take up every opportunity you can, it’s better to focus on the things you really want to do. Whether it’s art or photography or science, get involved in the clubs you would willingly show up to even if it had no impact on your college decisions.

4. More will be expected of you

Junior year is usually the time when the pressure to succeed gets bigger while the room for error gets smaller. Being an upperclassman means that your teachers, professional school counselors, and parents will expect greater responsibility from you. And your sophomore year excuses for late assignments may not be as permissible. Go into junior year with this level of expectation and maturity in mind. People will expect more of you because they believe you are capable of greater things. (And you are!)

Related: Top 10 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

5. Enjoy the little things

High school only lasts four years, and if you’re a junior, you’re over halfway through! This year is sure to bring its fair share of trials, but don’t forget to enjoy all the little things that make each year of high school memorable.

Go to the homecoming game, start a club with your friends, get your driver’s license, cheer during pep rallies, and dance at the prom. Even if it seems like just another overrated school function, join in on all the typical high school teen stuff. You just might enjoy it!

Junior year is full of procrastination, stress, and pop quizzes, but you learn to get through it the best you can. You’ll learn so much more about yourself and your capabilities after you’ve been pushed to such an extreme. And if you can get through it with some level of sanity left, then you can proudly deem yourself as a junior year survivor.

For more tips on managing tense times, check out our blogs and articles on stress!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
extracurriculars high school academics junior year juniors organization stress

About Bella Medina

Hi, I'm Bella. I'm your average AP student trying to make it through my last two years of high school. College apps are coming up, and I'm honestly terrified. But I have faith that we'll all make it through this process together. When I'm not completely stressed out by school, I love to read, write, play volleyball, and hang out with my two dogs. I'm a huge Dodgers fan and I'm anxiously waiting for the day there's a championship parade in LA.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Emilie Delgado

Emilie Delgado

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2013

CollegeXpress has tremendously helped me in my search for financial aid opportunities as I enter my college career. It is easy to navigate and quickly narrowed down scholarships that I could apply for. Being awarded the scholarship will greatly help me in my finances regarding books and tuition. Thank you for this opportunity. Without CollegeXpress, it would have been more difficult to apply. I would recommend this site to everyone!

Rayan Hamdan

Rayan Hamdan

None

I joined CollegeXpress just a few months ago. I had been struggling with severe anxiety, causing me to not be able to tour schools and make sure a college would be perfect for me. I came across CollegeXpress one day when I was searching for colleges online, and it completely changed the game. I was easily able to choose colleges that would suit me, and I also entered a few giveaways! Thank you so much!

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

Farrah Macci

Farrah Macci

High School Class of 2016

CollegeXpress has helped me in many ways. For one, online searches are more organized and refined by filtering scholarships through by my personal and academic interests. Due to this, it has made searching for colleges and scholarships significantly less stressful. As a student, life can already get stressful pretty quickly. For me, it’s been helpful to utilize CollegeXpress since it keeps all of my searches and likes together, so I don’t have to branch out on multiple websites just to explore scholarship options.

Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.

College Matches