Junior Year Pressures

Mansi Sharma, News Editor

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Juniors are nearing the end of the semester and preparing for next year when we have to be the ones filling out our college apps. As a junior myself, I have not felt so much pressure and tension between all of us since first grade, when we were racing to see who completed their Accelerated Reader points first or who got their gold key in math first. Now, ten years later, we’re all competing to become the perfect college applicant. We hear whispers about what one person got on their SAT and how many AP classes someone else is taking. Our class ranks define us and our GPA is the most important thing in the world right now, or at least that’s what we feel like at times.

We may be under a lot of pressure, but we can’t predict the future, so what’s the point in stressing over it. It’s easier said than done to not worry, but all of this worry and fear of the unknown shouldn’t change who you are.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen some of my closest friends turn into people who I never imagined they would become. Some students have become extremely secretive and are afraid to say any helpful information, because if anyone found out what they are involved in outside of school or for volunteer work, someone else might hear and become a better candidate for college. There’s no more support in our friendships. It’s survival of the fittest. Every man for himself. Everyone is a threat to each other. I didn’t realize it until now but the beginning of junior year, meant the beginning of this crazy competition for college.

While some students will succumb under pressure and lose themselves, the students who truly extract the most out of their high school experience, transform into better people as well as scholars. Past valedictorians, UCLA commits, and other successful students were also shaped into amazing people who made a positive impact on many staff members and students. Unfortunately, some of our peers believe grades are more important than the kind of person you are after these four years. I hope we don’t forget what’s most important, because it’s easy to lose track of what type of person you’re changing into, when getting into the perfect school is the only thing we can think about.

So was this the end? Did I just lose my friends and classmates to the pressures of junior year? I hope not. Just because college is around the corner and everyone is becoming cutthroat and competing to be the smartest and best student, does not mean it has to influence who you are as a human being. Everyone’s true colors show during this time of the year, but all the external events do not have to change you.

Would you rather be an amazing, humble, and intelligent person or a smart, clever and manipulative student who loses their friends and their own personality when they begin to buckle down under the pressures of college and our future? The answer is quite obvious. Leaving high school as the best version of yourself is much more important than any class rank or test score received.

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Junior Year Pressures