It is officially the third quarter of the 2021-2022 school year. For many students, this signifies the upcoming spring break filled with free time, sunny beaches, pool days and day trips. For the junior class, however, the impending stress of note taking, hours of studying and the dreaded testing season has settled in.
Between the months of March and May, juniors are often busy preparing for SATs, ACTs and college resumes.
“Regarding the SAT/ACT, I have been preparing for the tests by taking practice tests and using a prep book,” junior Lily Purse said. “Math is my weakest subject, so I’ve focused a lot on preparing for the math portion of the exams by getting a math tutor.”
Although most schools are test optional, national standardized tests are used to compare students and their basic knowledge of reading, writing, math and science.
“I completely agree with the statement that junior year is the toughest year of high school,” junior Natalie Hyer said. “I think this is because this is the last year that colleges really look in depth, and there is a lot of pressure to take difficult classes that would look good to colleges.”
SATs and ACTs are considered a priority for the junior class, but these tests are among the numerous others they will be taking for AP classes.
“I have been going to weekly quest sessions and using my huge prep books,” junior Ann Ngyuen said. “It’s also difficult to find time and motivation to study when I have other tests, though.”
Along with the countless after school hours spent studying, many juniors are working to fill their college resumes with volunteer hours and local activities to show leadership and personality. In doing so, students are able to prove they are engaged in their community outside of the classroom.
“I participate in the school orchestra which has introduced me to various community activities involving orchestra and volunteering,” Ngyuen said. “Community service can help you better yourself as an individual and help you learn to work with others to make a positive impact.”
With their calendars filled with study plans and testing dates, time to relax is often brief and the work can become overwhelming. It is important to create a balance between maintaining a social life and a good education.
“To deal with the stress, I make sure that I spend some time every day doing nothing and just relaxing doing things that I enjoy,” Hyer said. “Especially on the weekends, I make sure to relax and destress.”
In maintaining well-being, it is important to avoid academic stress, which is known to trigger a fight or flight response and induce anxiety.
“One extra AP class or online course isn’t going to be the determining factor for getting into college,” Hyer said. “Don’t do something that doesn’t really matter if all it does is create more work and stress.”
Although stress should be avoided, it is crucial to continue to keep up with school work and end the school year on a high note.
“Try not to procrastinate, find something that makes you happy or motivated, take a step back and breathe when it gets to be too much,” Ngyuen said.