How to Survive Junior Year

By: Hannah Schmidt

The first day of junior year I stepped into HB with 4 AP classes on my schedule and fear in my heart. Everyone knows junior year is supposed to be the most intense year of high school, and I didn’t help myself out by loading my schedule. However, I managed to get through last school year with rarely more than an hour of homework per night. I’m not joking, and I did pretty well in my classes too. So now I’m going to share how I did it. Some of these tips may not be fun, but you’ll thank me in the long run when you can go to bed before midnight and hang out with your friends on the weekends.

1. Don’t have messages on your computer – I know this may seem irrelevant, but having messages on your computer is seriously distracting. I never set it up freshman year simply because I couldn’t figure out how, but as the years have gone by I’ve realized how beneficial that has been for me. I can be more focused in class, making my homework easier and allowing me to study less. It also eliminates another possible distraction that could occur while completing homework.

2. Work after eating lunch, at lab, and before school – Every moment counts! While you’re already in the grind of the school day, use every free second to get something done. I don’t buy the excuse of “there’s just not enough time to start something during lab.” It’s only 15 minutes shorter than a full period. Lab is the perfect amount of time to knock out a quick assignment or get started on an essay.

3. Checklists – I make checklists for everything. Every night when I get home, I take everything from my planner and create a checklist in a separate notebook. It helps me prioritize, and it’s really satisfying to cross things off. I usually use this box format:

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4. Planning free periods the night before – Every night I check my schedule to see when or if I have any free periods. That way, I can see which classes I will have before that period that will likely give me homework and plan which classes I will complete during that period. Planning ahead keeps me from wasting 15 minutes of my free period trying to figure out what to do. I also do the same thing for my time after school. If I know I won’t be getting home until late, I will plan out exactly the time I have to do homework and decide which subjects will be able to be done in that allotted period.

5. Don’t leave assignments for first period frees the day they’re due –  I always use my first period frees to get ahead on homework for that night, not to make up work that is due the same day.

6. 3 Day Rule – What has always helped me in getting reading for tests is leaving myself at least 3 days to review. The first day I normally end up blowing it off and don’t do any review. Then the second day I create my study guides and organize my materials. The day before the test is when I do practice problems or flashcards to reinforce the ideas I reviewed while making my study guide. Not studying everything the night before will allow you to spend less time working each day, but still be as prepared.

7. Start essays the night they are assigned and finish a draft 3 days before it is due –  Whenever I’m assigned an essay I start brainstorming the day it is assigned. I block out a certain amount of time to work on it each night, so I can finish a full draft three days before it’s due. Leaving myself a few days to edit takes the stress away and keeps me from staying up late and spending hours at a time on the essay.

All of these tips have really helped me all throughout high school but especially during my busy junior year. I realize it’s almost impossible to do everything on the list (I mess up all the time too), but even incorporating one tip you think might work for you will help. Happy homeworking!