Rhythm & Views

An outlook on young adult interests and concerns

By Malik Stevens

Junior Year: A Different Ball Game

Most people already know that I am in the 11th grade at the Gifft Hill School. Coming into the 11th grade, I felt all I had to do was what I had done every other school year: pay close attention in class, do my homework, and study once in a while. I was wrong.

Eleventh grade is definitely a different ball game. It is the grade where classes become more difficult, and everything you do is either counted for or against you. This grade is also where you begin serious preparations for life outside of high school; it can either make or break students. There are many enjoyable things about this grade, but there are also a number of things that might be overwhelming.

For many students, 11th grade is the most critical year, in that it initiates the countdown of the end of their high school careers. It is the year when students differentiate between true friends that will last forever, and ones that are not worth keeping. Some students also acknowledge 11th grade as the year of independence, where parents give them the freedom to do the activities that they might not have been able to do before. Overall, it is the year of growing up. Students get their driver’s license, they begin to select prospective colleges and prepare for adulthood, and teachers also begin to see them as young adults.

Well, we know there can be a pretty side to anything, but where there is pretty, there is ugly as well. Eleventh grade can be quite challenging and stressful.

Students have to deal with the pressure of doing well in a number of challenging classes such as chemistry, algebra II, pre-calculus and physics. A student can feel as though they are being watched with every action they make. If one misses a day of school or fails a test, they may feel as if it will hurt them in the long run because prospective colleges are breathing heavily over their necks.

For many, it is also the year where they begin to juggle school with girlfriends/boyfriends, work, community service, extracurricular activities, etc.
“To me, 11th grade has proven to be the hardest school year yet, especially having to deal with preparing for SATs, maintaining good grades, and fulfilling the prerequisites that will help me get into the college of my dreams,” said student Jessica Samuel.

Junior year is challenging but there are a number of things students can do to make it easier. Students should make sure that all of their community service hours are completed prior to senior year. Waiting until the last year to complete these hours will not pay off because you may end up having to complete them rather than doing something enjoyable.

Adults always say to make the most of life while in school, and we should. Partake in the fun activities school has to offer as often as possible. This will make school more interesting. Be involved, stay focused, be positive and stay true to your goals and aspirations. If it ever gets too challenging, just look forward into the future and see what hard work now will bring to you then.