Oakton Outlook

Demystifying the stress of junior year: an open letter to underclassmen

To underclassmen intimidated by the prospect of junior year; this is for you.

Emily Richardson, Editorial Board

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Dear sophomores, freshman, and all years preceding,

11th grade has (quite unfortunately) been widely accepted as the hardest of our high school years. One of the main inducers of junior year stress is the prospect of college looming over our heads, not quite as real as it is for seniors but with the same sense of urgency. The limbo we juniors are left in is an elusive, at times intimidating, whirlwind of SATs, ACTs, and GPA boosters. College is on the horizon and we’re doing everything we can to be as ready as possible when it reaches us, often at the cost of our sleep, enjoyment, and sanity.

That’s the Oakton attitude, at least— not the right one.

A college education is, in numerous fields, valuable. It is perceived as a key to mobility in the professional world, a facet of society we can do no more than accept. Thus, it is important that those of us who plan to go on to university (because, please note, it is not for everyone) work in high school towards college in a way that will see our goals to fruition. This is not to say that personal needs should be ignored in the quest for our ambitions. There must be a balance between your work, what you need to get done, and your life. Having fun and enjoying your life should not be looked at as a break from work. Work should instead be looked at as a part of your life that runs parallel to your enjoyment and hobbies.

That’s where the stereotype comes from: when there is no balance. Obviously, finding middle ground is far easier said than done. Staying accountable to yourself and various responsibilities is time consuming and, on occasion, quite arduous. There are ways to find the balance, but they’re different for everyone. There’s no particular code you can crack— you truly have to play life by ear. Or feeling.

In short, do what makes you happy. That’s what’s really going to count, anyways.

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About the Writer
Emily Richardson, Editorial Board

My name is Emily, and I am a member of the Editorial Board for the Oakton Outlook and I have a passion for writing in all of it's forms. I am also member...

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Demystifying the stress of junior year: an open letter to underclassmen