“Everyone Says”

Juniors are always warned about the perils of 11th grade. But sometimes caution can do more harm than good.

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photo by Sophia Caruso

Junior year, we are regularly reminded, is filled with SATs, challenging courses, and lots of stress.

Kristen Kinzler, Staff Writer

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me junior year was going to be stressful…

That’s about all I’ve heard since finishing tenth grade — how scary this year would be. Junior year is filled with difficult courses, SATs, college wish-lists, and incredibly important transcripts, after all. 

This explains why everyone says that you should be terrified. It’s like your whole academic career is banking on these thirty-six weeks. The seniors warn against certain AP classes and rant about nearly impossible tests. Teachers talk all about how every single grade is crucial. Everything counts.

While it is understandable that older students and staff members want to warn juniors of these upcoming trials, it’s not exactly helpful. Actually, it can do more harm than good. It’s like waiting to get a tooth pulled out. You know it’s coming. You know it’s gonna hurt. Does having someone constantly remind you of that while the dentist stands over you really help?

In fact, I think most of the stress juniors feel right now is because of all those warnings. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you think you should be. It’s like a rite of passage. If you’re not stressed, you’re not doing it right.

Maybe that’s a natural emotion, but it can quickly turn into a damaging thought process. A lot of the problem lies in the word “everyone.”

Everyone says that test is impossible.” 

Everyone says that class is way too tough.” 

Everyone says that junior year is the hardest year and is super stressful.”

If students keep hearing that everyone else before them had such a hard time, why should they expect their experience to be any different?

I realized that I have personally been falling victim to all those phrases long before my junior year. It’s been making me feel incompetent and anxious about tests for years. 

It’s easy to believe, but it really only takes away the benefit of the doubt. You could be completely clueless about something, but if another person says it’s stressful, it suddenly seems like an impassable obstacle. 

It’s not.

If you’re going to stress out about junior year, don’t do it because someone told you to. In fact, try not to do it at all.”

All that kind of thinking does is undermine your own abilities and self-confidence.

Because you haven’t taken that test. You’ve only been in that class for a dozen days. And you’re only three weeks into your junior year. So, why should you allow everyone else’s experiences to strike such fear in you?

School is tough enough without everyone telling you how hard it should be. The truth is, everyone’s experience is different. You don’t know how things are going to go. 

Of course, this year will most likely be difficult, but that’s normal. As a young fifth grader, you were told middle school was going to be hard. As a naive eighth grader, teachers preached that high school would be challenging, too.

Was it? Yes. But did you figure it out? Absolutely.

The biggest lesson my schooling has taught me so far is that you handle things as they come. If something becomes more challenging, you adjust. You will always find a way to manage– in school and in life.

We all need to stop being so afraid of things we haven’t come across yet. That kind of mindset will only make things a thousand times worse.

Moreover, we need to stop expecting our individual achievements to replicate someone else’s. We’re all our own people. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. 

You don’t know if something is going to be impossible or scary for you until you try it yourself. 

So, if you’re going to stress out about junior year, don’t do it because someone told you to. In fact, try not to do it at all. Like always, you’ll conquer every challenge as you meet it. You’ll find a way. Because, believe it or not, you’re pretty prepared for this.