As the school year winds down, this marks the last KO News issue of the 2022-2023 school year. Luckily for me, this means that I’ve survived the infamous junior year, excluding final exams that will take place in just a few days. As I look ahead to being a senior in August, I’m left wondering why does everyone dread junior year?
First, the workload of junior year often feels especially overwhelming, particularly at the start. One of the greatest contributors behind this is the availability of multiple AP and honors-level course options within each subject. Many students feel pressure to take on a more rigorous course load knowing that they will be applying to college soon, bringing added amounts of work.
This brings me to my next point: Junior year is when students are truly introduced to the college process and expected to research colleges, write a first draft of the college essay, and much more. This can feel very overwhelming considering college acceptance rates across the country continue to decline as applications skyrocket.
Lastly, many students assume greater leadership roles during their junior year, becoming captains of sports teams and leaders of clubs. Taking on significant responsibility in these roles requires organization, planning, and commitment, all factors that can add up to considerable amounts of time spent towards these positions.
Overall, juniors are faced with lots of responsibilities and it’s understandable why many deem junior year the hardest one of highschool. Yet, unfortunately, the truth is the work and stress won’t stop at junior year. In reality, each year of school students are expected to take on more challenges and, while, for juniors especially, it may feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, this isn’t new. Each year of your life has been met with more work, more responsibilities—a reflection of your increased maturity and capabilities. Likewise, the start of senior year will entail, for many, an even more rigorous course load along with the pressure of college application deadlines. While many seniors may expect an easy road ahead following junior year, they are surprised to find that the fall of their senior year is actually harder. Simply, having lots of work to do isn’t something that will go away anytime soon and we all must find ways to reduce stress, accordingly.
I have realized that there are many effective ways to manage stress that work differently for everyone, but here are a few that have worked for me.
First, find time for the things that make you happy. No matter what it is, it’s important to prioritize doing things you love even when life gets busy. It can be hard taking a break when looking at a never-ending to-do list, but by even taking fifteen minutes to do something you enjoy, you will return more productive.
Second, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself if you need help. One thing I have learned throughout my years at KO is that your teacher is almost always on your side. If you’re struggling before an upcoming test or worried about meeting a deadline, go talk to your teacher.
The teachers and adults in your life want the best for you and they’re willing to help you navigate any issues you’re encountering.
Third, don’t stress too much over one thing. This is a lesson that I had to learn this year as I managed balancing multiple assessments and due dates each week. Truly, one test or one essay will not define you and you shouldn’t let it. Don’t dwell on one thing too much, put your best foot forward, and everything will be okay.
It is important that everyone finds strategies that work for them to cope with stress, but teachers must also be mindful of the amount of work they assign, understanding the many commitments that students have. For the 2023-2024 school year, KO will adopt a new schedule and certain classes will meet back-to-back days, sometimes even three days in a row. Like I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons that KO students can feel lots of stress is dealing with a heavy workload. Many students are involved in clubs, sports, and extracurriculars which are essential to being a more well rounded person. However, with this in mind, it can often feel challenging to balance each of these different parts of our lives. Many KO students don’t get home until later in the evening from sports practices and are left with only a few hours to complete homework if they want to go to bed at a reasonable time. The new schedule will come as an adjustment to many students, and teachers must consider this when assigning homework, being mindful of students’ time and well-being.
Luckily, summer break will begin in just a few days, which I’m sure many of us are looking forward to. This is a great opportunity to relax after a long year and spend time doing things you love. I hope that you all make the most of your summer and enjoy a well-deserved break!