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The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

Junior Year is the hardest year


Imagine you just got out of a hard day at school, then you panic because you have work right after, lasting until after dark. By the time you get home, it’s already nine o’clock, and you realize you have a heavy load of homework. To get all your work done in time, you have to stay up until one in the morning, giving you nowhere near enough sleep. This leaves you exhausted the next school day, with teachers wondering why all their juniors are half asleep during class.

Here are some reasons why.

AP Courses: Junior year has the stereotype of being the most challenging year, but is it really?

Juniors have a lot to focus on this year. During this time, juniors tend to take more high-level courses, including Honors and AP classes. These courses come with a lot of baggage, including lots of homework, long nights studying, and constant essays, not to mention the AP test itself. When teachers prepare students for this AP exam, they often give practice timed writing essay prompts. Some teachers will give timed writings twice every two weeks, absolutely draining the life out of juniors. They have to maintain acceptable or above-average grades to impress the colleges of their choice.

This year is important, considering colleges strictly look at your junior-year grades.

Senior Events: At Ludlow High School, the juniors, especially those in student council, have a lot of hefty work put on them for the sake of the seniors’ events. Juniors are in charge of planning senior prom, participating in senior farewell, as well as being arch bearers at graduation. That may not seem like a lot, but let’s not forget the juniors also have to worry about their own events, such as field trips, pep rallies, and upcoming major tests. Juniors don’t have a lot of time to focus on themselves and their own work since they are doing everything they can to make the seniors’ last year the best.

The Vice President of the junior class, Esther Coelho, has a lot to say about all the responsibilities juniors have during this year. Esther expresses, “It’s a very stressful time. All the events happen at the same time of year. Especially in spring, we have prom, field trips, and senior farewell. We want everything to be really nice for the seniors, so it’s important that we spend a lot of careful time planning these events.” Esther further explains, “This whole process is mentally draining, and sometimes I find myself staying up all hours of the night just trying to finish work.”

“It’s just exhausting.”

Testing: The PSAT and SAT are both valuable tests for juniors. The PSAT helps juniors prepare for the SAT, but juniors have to pay a significant amount of money to take both of these tests. The SAT is required for some schools, adding to the stress. If your score doesn’t reach the standard—anything below a 1300—then the money spent and stress were almost for nothing. The SAT brings juniors a lot of unnecessary pressure. Although teachers and guidance counselors push students to take the SAT to better prepare them for applying to colleges, it can have detrimental effects on some students.

Working: Junior year is when most students are old enough to drive and get a job. Most juniors will have a job that they go to right after school until late at night. While juggling homework and studying for AP and honors classes, juniors have barely any time, considering they now have a job that is vital for them to support themselves as they approach adulthood. When these high-achieving students don’t do their homework, it brings their grades down and gives them a worse reputation with teachers and future colleges.

My dear friend, Kate DelNegro, has a few words to say about the troubling times she goes through balancing work, school, and more. She explains, “I really don’t balance work and school; it’s very challenging, considering I get out of school at two and have work at three, and I don’t get out until around nine.” She further discusses, “After work, I have to do the normal necessities such as eating dinner, showering, and laundry, so I don’t typically start my homework until around ten-thirty.”

“Since I work two to three times a week, I’m a very exhausted person, and when the sports I play are in season, it becomes even more of a struggle trying to accomplish these hard classes along with worrying about college and my future.”

The Great Unknown: What really makes a difference between junior year and the others is that this is the year you truly prepare yourself for the future. Mr. Brown, a teacher of freshmen and juniors, proudly elaborates on the aspects of juniors’ future plans. “I have noticed that freshman and sophomore year students worry about just keeping their grades up, but when you start junior year, everything will hit you at once.”

He then states, “This is the year juniors have to really begin thinking about their future since they start applying for early admission at the beginning of senior year. They really have to work hard for their grades junior year, and I don’t think most of them realize that until the thoughts of their futures start to set in.”

This can be a scary time for juniors.

Mental Health: The pressure junior year brings is really hard for some to handle. A recent study from Sofi shows that juniors deal with the most mental health disorders out of any other grade.

Since it’s the hardest year…

It states that juniors tend to experience depression because of academic pressure, social pressures, bullying, overscheduling, and the difficulty of keeping up with peer relationships.

Some would say seniors also go through all these factors, but one of the many differences is that seniors have many events revolving around bonding with their peers, while juniors don’t get the time to do so.

I believe teachers should support juniors during this hard time and check up on them rather than piling work on top of work, making sure they strive academically when in reality all this work is resulting in exhaustion.

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  • M

    Mary MorrisJun 6, 2024 at 12:18 pm

    speaking from the heart queen

  • K

    Kate Del NegroJun 5, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    #juniorslump so real leah you slay the day 🤗

  • A

    Abby ToomeyJun 5, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    So true. Ate up.