Junior year is supposed to be the hardest, or so they say. This is the year where you’re supposed to prepare yourself for life after high school, and that’s scary for anybody. Honestly, I’m scared. I want to share my experience–not only from how my Junior year has been so far, but also from my previous years to ease how you may be feeling. First coming to high school was scary, but after actually being here, I realized it’s not so bad.
My 9th grade year was online, so I don’t really have much to say about it. I didn’t really get that true ‘Freshman’ experience (which I know the seniors can relate to). My 9th grade year was just me having to be in isolation because of Covid, so nothing interesting happened. Everything was easier and just chill.
Although the workload was definitely easier than when we went back in person, my 10th grade year was great academically. It wasn’t taken so seriously. That doesn’t mean I didn’t work hard in order to succeed. Some people believe high school doesn’t really matter until you’re in 11th and 12th grade, but that’s not true. Everything leading up to those rigorous years is important, so you should try your best leading up to them. Waiting to try to do everything in those last two years is definitely not a good idea. In 10th grade I took two AP classes, and I’m taking the same amount as a junior. AP classes can be worth it if you’re willing to put in the work. But only take AP classes if you’re interested in the topic; it’s not worth putting in your time and effort into something you’re not interested in.
Maybe APs won’t give you the amount of credit you wished they would, but they definitely are good preparation for what some of your college classes will feel like. Because I took some college level courses in high school, I’ll at least know how to handle the workload because I’ve seen it before. However, if you’re looking to get some credits for college done while you’re still in high school (aside from taking the AP tests near the end of the year), I highly suggest you look into the Dual Enrollment program with Montgomery College (MC). Generally speaking, University of Maryland is one of the handful of colleges that accept MC credit. It still looks amazing on transcripts that you took an extra step to take college classes while still in high school. That being said, it’s important to look into it deeper before you make any decisions. I’m currently not taking any Montgomery College courses, but I’m hoping to do so during their winter enrollment. I’m trying to do a course where I will be taking a college class. I’m not sure about the courses they’re offering, but they’re most likely the required classes I’d need in college to get some credits out of the way. I’d still attend Blake since these courses are online, but I know some people who have completely transitioned into early college. This is part of the Dual enrollment program where once they’ve gotten their required credits for high school done, they only attend Montgomery college in person. There are definitely some ups and downs to this, but I’ve heard great things about it. All of this information and more can be found by our Dual Enrollment Advisor, Christian Greaves.
College is definitely on my list for my life after high school, but to be honest, I have no clue where I want to go and for what. I know how stressful it can feel to not know what you’re going to end up doing especially when time’s ticking, but I just keep reminding myself that it’s normal. Many people don’t know what they want to do until they’ve already completed some years of college, but it’s always good to have an idea of what you want to do one day.
All of this college talk, also means SATs and recommendation letters, and so much more. Personally I haven’t really done much to prepare for it, but I am planning to soon. I want to start prepping as soon as I can because the earlier the better. I’ve heard from teachers and now seniors applying to colleges to start during the summer and just get them out of the way by Nov. 1, before they start to pile up. This includes your essay, common app questions, brag sheet, and recommendation letters. Also remember that your SAT score isn’t everything. That’s something I still need to work on. Understanding that my SAT score isn’t everything. Of course it’s good, but many people go to excellent colleges without the help of their SAT score as many schools have transitioned to test optional. Keep your grades up and stay active in clubs and extracurriculars, they are all equally important!
Along with SATs, you’re going to want to start thinking about which teachers you want to ask for college recommendations ss. You want to be respectful and kind to ALL your teachers. You also want to get to know your teachers, and they’d love to get to know you. Talking to your teachers dosne’t always have to be academic related! They have a rubric they follow to help them write your letters, so if you KNOW you don’t participate in their class or don’t turn your work in on time… maybe don’t ask them. Though, it is worth noting in your junior year, it’ll likely be the most important. Get closer with your teachers, because they know how this works. With their help, it’ll make all the difference. Colleges don’t only look for your academic accomplishments, they want to see your involvement both inside and outside of school. Try to join as many clubs as you can all throughout high school, because it’s a great way to make new friends, and looks great on your applications.
As far as how junior year has been going so far, I’d say it’s pretty ok. I am a bit stressed trying to fix some of my grades as the end of the quarter is nearing, but luckily I haven’t piled up all my work,which is something I highly suggest doing. Don’t EVER let your work pile up to the point you can’t get it all done. I eman procrastination is something everyone does. It’s literally unavoidable, but at least learn to manage it where it doesn’t get too bad because that’ll do nothing but stress you out , which I’m assuming no one wants. I’m currently taking two AP’s this year; AP World and AP Research which I’m finding challenging at times, but then other times it’s easier. My AP World class moves very fast, and it’s a lot of information to take in. My Research class moves a bit slow in the beginning, but once we get our research questions set, then we’ll probably speed up the past because the entire year we work on one paper that’s due at the end of the year.
Junior year, just like every other year, isn’t just about your academic success. It’s also about your involvement and social life both in and out of school. It’s very important to not focus all of your time on your studies, because that can be very detrimental to your mental health. Remembering to have fun is important. High school is what you make of it, your school spirit directly reflects how your experience will be. So many kids have made up their minds about how much they hate high school and no longer TRY to enjoy it, obviously just confirming what they believed before. That’s why you shouldn’t miss some of the events Blake has to offer. Even though Junior year is supposed to be your most rigorous year in high school, remember to have fun, because it’ll end so fast. Don’t regret something you wish you’d done in the end!