Is junior year really as difficult as it’s made out to be?

Oak Park High School discusses what junior year is really about

Natalie Baghdanian and Sarah Manley

Stacks of assignments await you on Google Classroom. Three tests left to study for. Not to mention a meeting with Yearbook at lunch and practice until sunset. Oops, there is also  the PSAT this weekend. Is this a justified amount of work? It just might be, if you are a junior at OPHS.

“People always say junior year is really hard and it is definitely super hard, but also this year has been way harder for me,” said a junior, who wished to remain anonymous. 

According to a Google Form put out by the Talon staff, 70% of the 64 juniors who responded agree that they feel there is more homework this year than there was in the last two years. 42.2% of them spend at least six or more hours on homework and studying each week. 

“You physically don’t have enough time to do all your homework and go to sleep at a decent time,” said a junior, who wished to remain anonymous. 

The reason for the increased amount of work is mainly because of the increased difficulty of the classes. At this point in time, juniors are usually beginning to take more honors and AP classes to have a greater chance of getting into their dream college.

“At the same time, [juniors are] managing their most rigorous course load yet,” said College and Career Counselor Ms. Fitts. “They have more options available this year than they did in freshman and sophomore year, so [they have] more opportunities to challenge themselves.” 

Not only are classes and homework a big stressor, but so is college. As college gets closer, some juniors try to impress college admission officers in other ways, such as taking the SAT or ACT.

“Junior year is also a time when students are probably taking their first SAT or ACT test,” said Fitts. “So that’s also an added source of stress for some students. Even though many colleges are test free or test optional, many juniors still decide to take an SAT or ACT test, just to have it as an option if they need it or want to use it in the application process.”

However, not everyone is as stressed about college as others. Different people have different goals and they each have their own paths that they want to pursue. 

“It all depends on what you’re shooting for,” said English teacher Mrs. Schultheis. “I mean, if you’re shooting for the UC’s or the Ivies, it’s brutal. On the other hand, there should be no aspersions cast on anyone who chooses to attend Moorpark College. They can get their GE’s out of the way and then transfer to the UC’s.”

Nevertheless, academics aren’t the only parts of junior year. It is also important to enjoy the high school experience and prioritize yourself.

“Junior year should also be an exciting year, because it is a time when you really start to focus on life after high school and what you want to do,” said Fitts. “So it’s kind of fun to engage in that process and to really think about what you want to be doing, what your interests are, and to find opportunities that can be really fun and exciting.”

Junior year is different for everyone. Each person will have their own individual experiences that they form their opinions on. It all depends on what you make junior year to be.