My Top Ten Tips for Incoming Juniors

Student Life

If you are an incoming junior this year, I am sure you are beginning to feel stressed about such a big year coming up. From the ACT/SAT, greater responsibilities in extra-curriculars, harder classes, and start of the college-search process, there is definitely a lot to do in junior year. There are plenty of important moments this year, which is why it is key to be prepared to have a healthy balance of school, social life, and activities.

As an incoming senior, junior year is fresh in my mind and I have many tips to help you reduce any stress you may have for junior year. So, here are my top ten tips for your junior year.

1. Pursue Your Interests through extracurriculars

Do you like science? Look for a science club or research opportunities in your local area. Try finding a business club or consider opening a business if you like business. Wherever your interests lie, furthering them through extracurriculars is extremely advantageous. Not only are extracurriculars important in college applications, but they are also fun. Clubs and teams are great ways to meet new people and, even though you aren't the "new freshman", you can still try new activies! Whether it is through your school or not, there are tons of options for activies that you might love.

2. Put the Effort In

Trust me when I tell you: putting in effort in junior year pays off. Do your homework, study for that test, ask questions. It is key to remember that junior year grades are important. However, remember not to stress yourself out too much. Find a good balance of studying and relaxation and don't worry too much if you receive a few bad test grades. Stay resilient and work hard in junior year.

3. Find Leadership Positions

Finding leadership positions in clubs and sports not only looks good on college applications and resumés, but it is also fun! Having leadership responsibilities gives you more power to make your activities suit your liking more. Additionally, having a leadership position can teach you more about responsibility, communication, and more. Try emailing past leaders of clubs or sports and asking them about how to gain a leadership position. Or, start your own club or activity! Obviously, having a leadership position is extremely advantageous for not only your college application or resumé, but also your own self growth!

4. Build Strong relationships with your teachers

Building strong relationships with your teachers is extremely important for various reasons. First, it helps to be comfortable around your teachers as it may empower you to ask more questions when you feel confused or need help. This could definitely help raise your grades and lower your stress levels. Another great reason to build strong relationships with teachers is letters of recommendation! If you are planning to apply to college, you are likely to need at least one letter of recommendation. Having a strong relationship with at least one teacher will make you more comfortable when asking them to write a letter of recommendation for you and they are more likely to write a strong one.

5. Begin Researching Colleges

Don't stress, buuuut you'll be applying to college in a year. In order to be prepared, try researching a few colleges you're interested in and drafting a college list. Have fun with it: take virtual tours and try to narrow down some schools. Pick some locations you want to look at and others you can rule out. Consider your interests and try to narrow down to a few possible majors or focuses. You can always reach out to a counselor if you feel overwhelmed by the college search. Try not putting too much pressure on yourself, but definitely start considering college.

6. Create Strong Study Habits Early

Early in the year, create some strong study habits that will help you prevail through the year. Junior year feels long and without creating solid habits, it will definitely be difficult. Learn what works for you. Do you like studying at a quiet desk or in a busy coffee shop? Do you study best right after school or later at night? Is it best to do your easiest subjects or hardest subjects first? These are all questions you should ask yourself in order to start a perfect routine for you.

7. Take plenty of breaks

It is important to take plenty of breaks throughout the week in order to stay relaxed. Burnout is very real, trust me. So, find hobbies that bring you relaxation and help you forget about any stressors you may have. I, for example, started walking daily in order to clarify my mind before beginning homework or studying. I listened to podcasts or my favorite music and always enjoyed my time. Other examples of calming hobbies could be painting, drawing, running, watching movies, baking, or playing sports. Whatever it may be, make sure to spend time on other things besides school!

8. Stay Organized

Staying organized is extremely important during junior year. With so much to do, it can be easy to forget to do tasks. Tests may slip your might or you might forget to do a few homework assignments. Although forgetting a few tasks is normal, you may space out on a lot of important things if you become disorganized. To avoid this, I recommend buying a planner to plan out all of your events, homework, and anything else you may need to remember. Writing down your tasks will definitely help you stay organized during this eventful year.

9. Create a Resumé

With senior year approaching, you may want to apply for a job or apply to colleges. The sooner you make a list of all the activies and experiences you have done, the more you will remember it. Having a resumé on hand is always advantageous, as you never know what opportunities will come up!

10. Make Memories

Though school is important during your junior year, it is also important to make memories! You are finally an upperclassman. Have fun! Go to football games or dances if that's your thing. Meet new friends, go to new places, try new things. Don't let your junior year be all stress and no fun!

Those are my top ten tips to have a great junior year. Remember, this is a very important year, but, you should not put too much stress on yourself. This causes burnout! Remember to have fun, but also work hard! Good luck juniors!

Molly Kister
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Molly is currently a junior in high school in Wisconsin. When not writing, you can find Molly reading, playing volleyball, or watching The Office. When Molly is older, she hopes to have a career in journalism or business.