By Jade Stephen ’17 and Anna Wong ’17
Junior year is considered the hardest year in high school. Compared to other grade levels, a lot of emphasize is given to junior year. But what makes junior year seem so different from other years?
It’s an important year because it’s the year that colleges look at students more. It’s when students take on heavy course loads like AP classes. It is also the year when students study for standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT.
Stephanie Tse’17 is concerned that juggling SAT prep and AP classes is a heavy burden. On top of that, she has to focus on studying for upcoming tests and quizzes.
According to the school’s psychologist, Ms. Kristin Krase, PhD, a lot of stress is applied on junior year because of the realization that their high school years are coming to an end, and they have to focus on college and the future.
Some juniors may also take on extracurricular activities, responsibilities at home, managing their social life, and working. All in all, balancing all these activities in junior year can be overwhelming and stressful.
Jenny Feng ‘17 stated, “It is impossible to balance out school work with social life in junior year.”
According to the American Psychological Association Survey, titled “Stress in America: Are Teens Adopting Adults’ Stress Habits?,” it stated that teens report an average 5.8 out of 10 points on stress level in which 3.9 is considered a normal level of stress. Compared to adults, the average was 5.1 out of a 10 points stress scale. This study, conducted in 2013, shows that teens are even more stressed out than adults.
“I’m stressed every single day,” Victor Shahov ‘17 said. Sometimes he feels tense and nervous from all the stress. However, he doesn’t allow that to influence his school work and grades.
A Baltimore study, called “Confronting Teen Stress, Meeting the Challenge in Baltimore City,” showed that schoolwork was the top stressor for teenagers.
Zenab Jamil ‘17 is worried that stress is affecting her well-being more than her grades. “I feel stress affects me health wise and affects how much time I spend on enjoying my life,” she said. “For instance, this year I’m more likely to lock myself in my room and spend it on studying instead of going out and having fun.”
“I feel terrified while taking tests thinking that any bad grade can lower my average significantly,” said Zenab Jamil ‘17.
There are many signs of stress that a person may realize they have. According to Teens Health, these signs are having problems sleeping, being sad or depressed, and getting irritated easily and showing signs of moodiness. Other signs include feeling constantly pressured, having anxiety or panic attacks, having stomach problems, headaches, sometimes chest pain and doing drugs in order to avoid your problems or to relieve yourself from all the stress.
Often when you are stressed out, you find that you think a lot. Sometimes when people are stressed, they worry. They might say to their self that “I’m not going to pass this class,” or “I’m not going to college.”
However, there are many positive coping techniques to counteract the negative feelings that lead to stress.
“Find self talk that calms you down as opposed to self talk that gets you worried,” Ms. Krase said. She believes that students should change the way they talk to their self and that things are going to be calming.
Many students find that doing certain things can also help them cope with stress such as playing video games, listening to music and etc.
Andy Celdo ’17 states that he deals with stress by listening to music, going to sleep and going outside with his family.
However, not many juniors feel as stressed as other students during junior year.
Although junior year is stressful and overwhelming, time should be spent not only on school work but with family and friends.
“You don’t have to be doing everything possible under the sun to get to a good college,” Ms. Krase said. “You might want to take challenging classes but don’t give yourself more of a burden than you can handle. Keep time in your schedule for things that you enjoy doing.”
She also advises students to make sure to keep things in their schedule that are fun for them and to spend time with people such as friends and families.
There are many other things that a student may do to cope with their stress that doesn’t deal with going out or listening to music.
“Time management is important,” Mr. Zach Alexander, guidance counselor in training, stated.
Ms. Marianna Reinosa- Burgos, one of the guidance counselors, stated that understanding limitations will help many students because many students take more than they can handle. Choosing wisely and being realistic will also help them manage their stress.
Though junior year is known as the hardest and important year in high school, learn to manage all the stress and not let it ruin your life as a teen.