There are many exciting and wonderful aspects about a student's junior year in high school. But, what tends to creep into student minds from Day One, is that he is not just a junior, he is now a Rising Senior. The idea of senior year being just a year away opens the door to stress and confusion for many. However, with planning and organization, a student's junior year can be enjoyed.
Why is Junior year so stressful?
Juniors often carry heavy academic course loads. Difficult course work, accompanied by test prep classes that are taken after school or on the weekends can really challenge a student's ability to manage time. This is amplified if a student had a slow academic start in her freshman and sophomore years and is trying to amp up her GPA, or if he is involved in many extra-curricular activities. Taking both of these steps are great recommendations for students who are pursuing college aspiration. But, the challenges involved can add stress.
SOLUTION: Stay on top of academic studies. Establish regular study patterns and students should reach out for help from teachers, parents or guidance counselors if they feel they are getting behind or the stress is negatively impacting other areas of their lives.
Juniors have a tendency to be over-involved. It is around the end of sophomore year when students begin to step into leadership roles in clubs and organizations. Many students in this age group, because they have the freedom of a driver's license, may get a job or become involved in community and church groups. While all of these activities look great on college applications, the key is balance, and not allowing academics to fall by the wayside.
SOLUTION: Student should choose a few activities they are really interested in invest time into those. Colleges are looking for quality over quantity when it comes to involvement in school activities.
Let's not forget the social life! By junior year, students have begun to pull away from their parents and often prefer to spend time with their own social groups. The struggle between friends and family can be difficult and stressful for some young people. This can also be a difficult time for parents. Parents want to allow their children to have their space, because their children are desiring independence, but they know soon they may be gone from their homes. Confident, independence is what parents ultimately want for their children, but at the same time, it is difficult to experience. Also, during these times of independent choices, students can make poor choices and learn about failure, which is hard for parents to witness.
SOLUTION: This is challenging for the relationships of students and parents. However, if both are willing to communicate openly and honestly, relationships will thrive through trying times. Setting aside casual and meaningful times for teens to be with both friends and times for teens to be with family will establish that there is value in balancing both.