How junior year is killing my vibe

Junior year: the year most teachers have hyped up since we first walked into Hoban. And by hype I don’t mean the cool pregame jam kind of hype- I mean the scaring the heck out of you hype. We’ve been told too many times to count how this year could make or break our future, how universities look at this year’s grades with a fine tooth comb when selecting students, and how the ACT or SAT should be our biggest concern. While I do agree that junior year is the most significant out of all four years, is student sanity really an affordable price to pay?

    First, let’s recall everything we’ve been told since freshman year. Phrases such as “Welcome the work that will build your success” and “Build your study habits now so they’re perfected come junior year” are my personal favorites. While these tips are meant to encourage us and help build our work ethic, shoving them down our throats during every class, assembly, or even Canvas announcements will only annoy, not enlighten us. Yes, our success revolves around effort and dedication, but overdramatizing the issue will not make it any easier or more appealing.

   These “helpful tips” have really become ways for teachers to pile on more work, rarely considering our outside lives. Athletics, musicals and academic co-curriculars also happen to be preached when designing a perfect résumé. School involvement has become just another homework assignment and not the enjoyable, healthy activity it’s meant to be. While some students do sign up and use these activities as a release, many only take part because involvement looks good on college applications. This means that on top of striving for 4.0s, we are constantly at Hoban just to impress college recruiters. Juniors are especially the victims of this as most athletes now play varsity, most actors have earned leads, and others have established leadership roles within the school. We stretch ourselves too thin, but not because we want to— because we feel have to. I can safely attest that most juniors would rather be at home catching up on the sleep we’ve lost than heading to after school meetings or reviews. I can also attest that the stress can lead to an overbooked schedule. At the current rate of pressure, both academic and cocurricular, finding the time for relationships, social life and rest– essential elements of a healthy life– is absent.  Do we really need to choose between our academic future and our passing teen years? Are we really expected to achieve such excellence that nothing else in our lives matters?

    No, junior friends we aren’t. Sure, our teachers and administrators don’t mean any harm, but many options remain to lessen the stress on the junior class. Reworking the amount of homework by utilizing class time efficiently is a must. Not only would this reduce homework time, but also allow vital student questions to increase understanding. Teacher-student interaction is a critical part of student success, so this solution would benefit our academic skills, test scores, standardized strategies and perhaps even GPAs. Also, having an overall understanding of the junior struggle would benefit teachers and allow them to be more sympathetic and appreciative of how hard we work. Teachers, we really do know how crucial this year is,and little do you know- we’re all freaking out, trust me. We know you only want what’s best for us, but many changes can occur to reduce the pressure. Please, stop killing our vibe and help us educate both the heart and mind in a healthy, fulfilling manner.