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Juniors Juggle Unique Academic Challenges


Junior year is almost undoubtedly the most challenging year at Mount Michael. In an anonymous survey with 38 junior responses, all but two said junior year is an incredible step up. This response related well to survey results included in a story from last year’s newspaper, “Trial and Triumph: The Hardest Year at The Mount.” In this article it is included that 70% of students voted junior year as the most difficult year. The learning curve from sophomore to junior year is one of the largest reasons for this drastic increase in difficulty.

The most common responses in the survey questions referring to class effects on mental health were related to physics class. Physics is a mental battle and one of the most challenging classes at Mount Michael. The AP physics class at Mount Michael is one of the more rigorous classes in the state. For instance, select students who have left Mount Michael due to the academic rigor now have A’s in AP physics classes at other schools whilst some of the smartest people in the Junior class struggle to have an A in normal physics.

The biggest change to junior year is the introduction of more honors and AP class opportunities. Transitioning from sophomore year where there are zero AP classes and few honors classes can lead to students overloading their schedules without truly knowing the difficulty of AP classes in hopes of attaining a higher GPA. With that being said, many students who are not involved in any AP or honors classes will still attest to the difficulty of junior year. A student attested to this in a question about the difficulty of junior year by saying, “It is ten times harder and I don’t know why. I am not even taking a lot of AP classes and it is still very difficult.”

Junior year is also the first time college planning is emphasized.

“We have much harder classes and more homework. The reality of college resumes also begins to set in, so we start putting in extra effort into our academics and extracurriculars,” said an anonymous participant in the survey.

According to student responses, this can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. In a question for the entire student body where they were asked if they currently or have ever struggled with mental health issues, almost 25 percent of students said they have struggled with anxiety. There were also certain responses in which suicidal thoughts were mentioned.

School can have such a large effect on mental health that some people may not realize. In an environment like Mount Michael’s where students are held to a high standard, mental health can be horribly affected.

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