Junior year high school students are at a critical moment in their academic lives. The stress that comes with this responsibility can be quite difficult to cope with for a young student of 16 or 17 — most of them are just beginning to drive on their own, yet they desperately need guidance as they navigate the next few years. However, with all of the juggling of deadlines, test dates and looming decisions ahead, juniors still need to find ways to relax, clear their heads and get things into perspective.
As you prepare for next year’s junior class, share these tips students can try for a less stressful, more enjoyable junior year:
1. Fall/Winter break escape: Break away from your usual bedroom and/or library study routine, and take a little trip. Find somewhere quiet where you can relax in a refreshing environment and also get in the study time that you need for your SATs or AP exams, where you can clear your mind and concentrate on finishing your scholarship and college application essays. If you have relatives or friends with a garage apartment, guest room/house or a cabin in the woods, now’s a good time to go visit them.
Volunteering: If you have time to take a trip, try to fit in some voluntouring time. Voluntourism is a rapidly growing trend among tourists who also want to lend a helping hand to the community they are visiting. You’ll not only have a more memorable and meaningful trip that allows you to get some real insight into the local area, you’ll also have some excellent and unique material for that essay you still need to write. And volunteering always looks great on your resumé. Check out www.govoluntouring.com for ideas.
Playlists: Take the time to make several inspiring and motivational playlists on your iPod or computer: one for studying, one for writing essays, one for relaxing and one for dancing around or just hanging out with your friends when it’s time to take a much-needed break.
Have a planning party: If you have to do this stuff anyways, why not make it fun? Before the junior year gets into full swing, invite friends over for snacks, dessert or even a slumber party, and make your own calendars for the year to help guide you through all the SATs and ACTs, admission deadlines, AP exams, college fair dates, meetings with your counselor, internship interviews, study sessions, campus tours, and everything else that you’ll have to get through in your jam-packed junior year. You can also make an online calendar (Gmail has a calendar, for example), and sync it up or share it with friends to help each other out.
Stay connected: Create a Facebook page with your friends that is dedicated to college planning topics. Share your questions, worries, resource links, funny stories, fears, exciting news, acceptances, advice and more. You can even upload photos of yourself studying or music videos that inspire.
Celebrate everything: Did you finally take the AP Bio exam you had been stressing over for months? Indulge yourself at your favorite ice cream place or go on a shopping binge with friends. Finished that personal statement that you thought you would never get done? Go see a concert or get out of town and go camping for the weekend.