Is junior year harder or easier than normal this year?

Despite+the+virtual+format%2C+junior+Abigail+Turner+stays+engaged+in+her+classes+this+year.

Photo by Hannah Rah

Despite the virtual format, junior Abigail Turner stays engaged in her classes this year.

Junior year is often believed to be the hardest year of high school, as students have to juggle taking multiple challenging classes and preparing for important tests like the SAT and the ACT. However, the unique circumstances of this year have transformed students’ junior year experiences.

Some students believe the virtual format has made junior year more difficult. Not being able to directly interact with others in a school environment can make comprehension more challenging. “I spend more time trying to understand out of class than I do reviewing or doing my homework. I feel like working on your own with no teacher involvement can sometimes be monotonous and confusing. Additionally, it’s harder to work in groups because the teacher can’t keep us in check,” junior Elizabeth Ipe said.

These challenges are further emphasized in more demanding classes. “Because teachers have to put in the same amount of lessons into two days a week, taking AP classes can feel super rushed for students,” Ipe said.

The amount of content expected to be learned by students during the limited class time has made virtual learning difficult for juniors. “[The virtual format is] harder because learning online is more challenging but you are still expected to understand just as much as if you were at school,” junior Marvin Xu said.

Seniors reflect on their junior years and how they might have differed from juniors’ experiences in school now. Students miss the social aspect of in-person learning and find that the absence of this makes school more difficult. “I think that junior year is definitely harder this year than in my year. It is so hard to build personal connections with your teachers, and overall hurts you with finding direction for your future. For me, and probably many others, most of my motivation is from the in-person classroom setting. Honestly, I think that makes even my senior year harder than my junior year,” senior Sameeha Malek said.

Other students have found junior year to be easier this year, as certain aspects of online learning can make attending class more convenient. “I think it depends on who you ask but I would say [junior year is] easier because it’s easier to ask questions and get help from teachers. For example, Ms. Wedderien always makes sure to check in during class and outside of class. Knowing that she is available through email but also at a specific time during the day makes it easier to reach out for help,” junior Abigail Turner said.

It doesn’t hurt that we get to wake up later, as well.”

— Abigail Turner

Some students believe the increased use of technology in the learning process has made it easier. “I think it is easier being able to use your computer to help with classwork. You know there is a higher likelihood of getting a response from a teacher over email, for instance, because learning is all online. It doesn’t hurt that we get to wake up later, as well,” Turner said.

While some have found the virtual format to be more convenient in their junior year, others find it to be more difficult due to the lack of social interaction and the demanding amount of content expected to be learned by students.