Junior Year…

By Keira De Vita

Junior year is stressful, but it remains as important as upperclassmen claim it is. Take classes that interest you, take classes that match what you want to do with your future. Personally I am big on challenging myself and understanding the deeper meanings of topics which is the reason I will have taken seven Advanced Placement (AP) classes by the time I graduate. Furthermore, take classes you enjoy so that throughout the year you have less chance of burnout and lesser chance of resenting yourself for taking specific AP classes that you do not have interests in.

During a students junior year the best things they can do are the following:

– DO NOT TAKE APs JUST TO TAKE APs! Taking APs just to look impressive to colleges is NOT what colleges look for. They look for consistency and connection to what you want to do. Use the classes as experience and fuel for achieving your goals

If in a sport; try your hardest, ALWAYS! Recruiting begins when you become serious

Show that you are interested in something! Activities wise, colleges like to see commitment and a similar priority in interests. I.e. three to four years in club(s) in sports, consistency in classes (like taking rigorous English courses or taking art). Show that you are interested in something!

Begin your college list. This is something I began my Freshman year, but that is only due to the fact that I have known what I wanted to do, and what encapsulates that goal. Making a list of nine to 20 colleges is a great start. By the end of junior year, have a final nine to twelve to help make the admission process easier (fall is a busy time!). 

– Go to college fairs! While college resources at Westmont prove very useful, attending local college fairs expand the horizon for different colleges in the United States and around the world! I have found colleges I am applying to that I did not even know about due to college fairs! 

– Respect your teachers!!!! Help yourself, and your teachers. Be respectful… It is human decency. Plus, it can help you as a student become more successful in the class to feel comfortable asking questions.

If I could do junior year over, I would have taken it much more seriously than I had mental health wise. Mainly, taking myself more seriously. Your conscience impacts the result of your actions a lot (thanking AP Psychology for teaching me that). I personally believed that I was smart and could take AP classes but right when a “smarter” peer one-upped me it crushed my confidence. If peers in your AP classes make you feel that way, ignore them. They are just people you spend nine months with and then will not see possibly ever again once you leave high school. 

On that note, I know it is easier said than done, but do let friendships or relationships with peers get in the way of your classes and your overall enjoyment of your high school career. Stress with friends, or tense feelings entering a classroom is never the forte to excelling in a class. If you do not picture yourself close friends with your peers in 10 years, then you should not let them jeopardize your most important year of high school- especially if you have specific goals or dream colleges. I hope this more formal note of life advice to all underclassmen reaches the right audience because your academic career is what you make it! Lastly, (I cannot stress this enough) try to not complain about a class. Complaining constantly creates a poor feeling of the class or subject in your self consciousness which can form a rough relationship or even deteriorate your grade slowly over time. Take each day as it comes, and try to make it over each obstacle. These can either be the best years, the really academically challenging, or the worst four years of your life; with proper prioritization and the use of much needed good thoughts your junior years will play out much more successfully than not.