Stress. School work. Finding time. Junior year produces more stress than any other year of high school. The challenging classes, extracurricular activities, jobs, standardized tests, and the college process are just the beginning.
Extracurricular activities (sports, speech, or jobs) always add to the stress of finding time for everything. Chelsea Myles (`11) says, “Not only do I have to worry about getting my school work in on time, but I also have to go to work.” Hannah Newcomb (`11) adds, “The main thing that stresses me is other people expecting me to do things according to their schedule, especially with sports and assignment deadlines.”
Make no mistake. Junior year is stressful, but there is hope. The counselors understand that “each student has their own personal stress,” according to Mrs. Klaus, Director of College Placement. She says that, “Growing up is tough and a lot of stress isn’t even school related but deal with the teenage world of family, friends, extracurricular activities and even driving.” However, there are ways to ease the school related pressure.
As for college she says, “The college process is less stressful because of the structure that we have around it and by students and their parents staying on task and doing a little bit at a time.” She advises that juniors should be beginning to do research on colleges and also registering for the standardized tests this spring. Arranging a meeting with one of GA’s college counselors, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Kenny, or Mrs. Klaus, is highly recommended so that this overwhelming process can be regulated, thereby making it more manageable. “By planning and mapping out a study plan and the college process, stress should be minimized.”
Mrs. Brubaker also thinks that juniors experience a lot of stress, and often they stress about things that are out of their control. Instead, take care of what you can control such as doing well in class, preparing for standardized tests, and doing what you can to make yourself a strong candidate for college. “Many students think that they have to do ‘everything underneath the sun,’” she says, “but that is not true.” Juniors should use this time to consider all of their options, explore, and reflect.
Mrs. Brubaker and Mrs. Klaus both agree that making use of outside resources by getting information and letting people help you is great for stress management. Mrs. Klaus says, “GA has such a great environment, and there are so many teachers here who would be happy to help you get through rough spots and students should take advantage of that.”
Mrs. Brubaker thinks that finding balance is important too. Choose things that you are passionate about and get rid of the things that do not matter as much. Also, there needs to be time in each day that is scheduled simply for you. People have things that they love to do that helps them clear their minds, whether it is spending time with friends, exercising, or listening to music. Kenny Farona (`11) says, “I freak out about what I have to do for no reason, so I try to calm myself down and then take another stab at my work later.”
Staying healthy by having good nutrition, sleeping enough, and exercising can reduce stress. By keeping your body healthy, your mind can then focus on the things that it needs to.
Students have their own personal ways of relieving stress. Chelsea Myles (`11) says, “When you have a lot of work to do, instead of spending time worrying about it, just do it.” Caitlin Faley (`11) says, “I prepare for my work and try not to freak myself out about whatever it is that I have to do. I just deal.”
Overall, the best way to manage stress is to figure out what works for you. Use the resources that are provided to you and stay organized as well as These should help you minimize your stress level as junior year is ending.