Junior year lives up to its reputation

By Rebecca Nussbaum

Yikes, you’re a junior. That’s killer. This is the typical reaction I get when people ask me what grade I’m in. And they are right.

Everyone hears about the myth of junior year. No sleep. Red Bull. Piles of history reading. SATs. ACTs. APs. Varsity sports. Going into this year, I thought it was just that: a myth. A mere exaggeration. Sure, some students would get overwhelmed, but not me. I’m capable, I don’t procrastinate and I can handle junior year.

Spoiler alert (this is for you sophomores): it is not a myth. I repeat, it is not a lie. Junior year is rough.

Classes are more demanding than ever before, and loading up on honors and AP classes makes for a tough workload. Top that off with standardized testing and you’ve got yourself an intense academic environment. 

I used to get coffee every once in a while on a whim. I finished my schoolwork on time and liked to be asleep by midnight.

But this year, there were plenty of 3:30 a.m. bedtimes, and Jonny at Starbucks and I have gotten to be good friends.

“Hi Becky, grande iced coffee?” he asks me rhetorically with a smile.

I’ve developed the ability to nap in any place at any time. Chairs, couches and floors will all do if I’m tired and need to recharge. I, a virgin napper 12 months ago, now have a sophisticated philosophy as to the duration and time of day of the ideal nap. There’s the 15 to 20 minute catnap, the standard 40 minute nap and the two-to-three hour “I have a history test tomorrow so will nap now then study for as long as I can” nap. Library-goers have probably seen me catching some much needed z’s on the couches by the magazines during free periods.

With unrelenting work and pressure, junior year is like a marathon, and you’re expected to sprint all 26.2 miles of it. However, now that the finish line is within view, I’m able to see some positives of the year.

Doing your English reading will make tomorrow’s quiz easy. Practice taking derivatives and your math test won’t surprise you. But my year of certainty is over.

Entering senior year, we begin the college application process, and no matter how qualified we may be, admission to no school is guaranteed. Goodbye to the “a implies b” of junior year, and hello to the uncertainty of senior year.

I can’t help but feel apprehensive and hope that what I’ve done this year is enough. But, no matter — my grades are what they are. I wave goodbye to junior year, proud to have made it through, and quietly cross my fingers that my efforts were enough.