How to survive junior year

Alex Lento

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By Alex Lento, ’10, and Jessup Smith, ’10, LifeStyle Editors

It’s your dreaded junior year. From two people who have been through it before (and survived, of course), it won’t be that bad if you take our advice. First of all, stick it out in a class that you think is too hard for you. If you got a 30% on your AP U.S. History  summer test, it’ll be okay. You can still get an A in the class. The first couple of tests may be rough because you are getting used to new teachers and new concepts, but you may find that it gets easier as time goes on. If it doesn’t, you can always drop by Mr. Dahl’s office and beg for mercy. Once you figure out the right way to approach your classes, get ahead when you can. It will keep you from being overloaded and allow you to avoid sleep debt.

Use your free bells wisely. Don’t multitask. Do what you’re doing, and do it well. You know how you work best. Only you know when you have time to talk with your friends and when you need to go up in the library and be productive. If the library isn’t your thing, find a nook or cranny somewhere quiet in the school where you can concentrate on the “oh so feminist” novella Ms. Floyd has just assigned.

You guys aren’t seniors yet, so try not to miss class. It can be really tough to get back on track if you miss a chemistry lab. If you do get behind, make sure you take the weekend to catch up; otherwise you’ll be stuck the night before the test.

Don’t be embarrassed to go in for help. Ask a teacher or a classmate. Don’t let concepts go by that you don’t truly understand; that will come back to bite you when teachers put applied knowledge problems on a test. Also, study in groups. It can really help just to talk things through out loud, and your classmates can be your best resources. Make study guides together; it’ll save you busywork! Also, make best buddies with that smart kid who sits behind you. You won’t regret it.

As for the dreaded junior paper, don’t let it scare you. Yeah, it’s a lot of work. But if you stay on top of it and don’t leave it all to the last minute, you’ll be fine. Unlike our class, you probably won’t be lucky enough to get three snow days preceding the due date. See your advisors for help early. Also, remember that it won’t completely dominate your grade. You have to look at it in the big picture. If you screw up the first time, good news! You get a second chance! Your final draft is due a month later! But really, it’s not that many points, and if you do well overall in the class, it won’t affect your final grade too much.

Outside of school, figure out what clubs and sports are most important to you, and really get involved this year. Don’t overload yourself with too many obligations. It’s not necessary to be in BCW, Asian Awareness, and JEW Club just because you think it’ll help you get into Harvard. Admissions officers prefer to see only one or two clubs with a lot of involvement and a leadership position rather than a laundry list of activities you really haven’t committed to.

Lastly, listen to advice from people who have taken the classes you are taking. We know what we are talking about! You just took the time to read this article; don’t let the good advice go to waste. Most of all, have fun. You will be ready to buckle down when the time comes if you enjoy your free time. Junior year is a lot of fun and a big step up into the realm of “upperclassmendom”; enjoy it.