Oh, the Things You Need to Know

10 pieces of advice for the incoming Juniors


Catie Heerman

Ashlyn Martin (11) invites Anna Ward (10) into a classroom.

Catie Heerman, Staff Reporter

From the start of high school, most students are made aware that the most challenging of the next four years will be Junior year. While most students take this as fact, very little advice is given to students entering their 3rd year of high school. After conducting a brief survey regarding important things to know about Junior year and reflecting on my own experience, the following list of tips and things to know will serve as an excellent starting point for knowing what to expect.

1. This is your year to challenge yourself

Junior year is an excellent time to take challenging classes. This year is a great year to cover new and more challenging topics, as well as a great time to build on things you already know. This, however, does not mean you need to take 7 AP classes or swamp yourself with courses that are excessively difficult. Junior year is a time for understanding your limits and knowing how to succeed in difficult classes without becoming overwhelmed.

2. Time management is key

This year, knowing how to manage a busy schedule is imperative for long term success. Many of the students surveyed recommended keeping a calendar or planner to keep track of important dates in and out of school. Junior year will most likely keep you busier than ever before, and time management can be especially difficult if you play a sport or work after school. Knowing what you need to spend the most time on and getting things done in a timely manner can be very, very challenging. Working to keep up with time management and planning ahead will certainly improve both your stress levels and your grades in the long run!

3. Study for the ACT!

The ACT plays a large role in the college selection process for those looking to attend a university after high school. A helpful trick to improve your ACT score is to either purchase study materials or take an ACT prep class either in or out of school. Always try your absolute best on the ACT as while you can take it multiple times, the costs for the test add up over time. By studying before the test, you can improve your score without needing to take it multiple times.

4. Know things can and will be difficult

Take it from me: those who say that Junior year will be the hardest weren’t lying. By understanding and accepting that at one point during the course of the year you will struggle, you can be less worried about it when the time comes around. For me personally, this difficult period came in mid-January. The most important part of a struggle, however, is knowing that you will get past it.

5. Start thinking of your plan for after high school

It’s no doubt that you have probably been questioned about your future plans more than a few times recently. This will only happen more often in Junior year. This is a good time to consider your plans for the future so that you are already prepared when entering Senior year. It is alright to still not have a definitive plan, but take some time this year to explore your options and consider your future.

6. Know when to ask for help

Knowing when to ask for assistance has been something I have struggled with throughout high school. Know that this year, it is alright to ask for help. Don’t feel ashamed to ask a teacher for extra explanations on an assignment, or to ask for assistance with personal/mental health from a guidance counselor. Experiencing stress is perfectly normal during this year and is to be expected. If you feel miserable or completely overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to let someone know.

7. Find healthy ways to relieve stress

It is very likely that you will find yourself dealing with an increased level of stress in Junior year. Finding an activity or hobby you enjoy is an excellent way to reduce stress. Consider joining an in-school club or trying a new activity.

8. Yes, you actually need to study

This one seems like a given. Before Junior year, it feels as if studying for most things is an option rather than a necessity. This will change. It is extremely important to know that you absolutely will have to study and prepare for tests this year in order to receive a good grade. Be prepared to spend more time on homework as well.

9. It’s perfectly okay to not have all of the answers yet

A large part of Junior year is growing up. This time for growth means that it is alright to be unsure about your present and future self. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. While earlier I suggested planning for the future, do not feel obligated to be ready for after high school just yet; you still have two more years to learn.

10. Enjoy your Junior year!

While all of the topics on this list are important to keep in mind, remember to enjoy your Junior year! Being an upperclassman is really enjoyable. Spend your last 2 years of high school making memories and having a great time!