A Project for Better Journalism chapter

The alphabet soup years

The final two years of high school can feel a lot like alphabet soup. GPA. SAT. ACT. FAFSA. APs. Juniors and seniors face significant amounts of stress in preparation for college applications and acceptance. The last two years of childhood are consumed by pressure to succeed, grow up and somehow, still manage to enjoy high school.

“What stresses me the most is when the teachers don’t explain certain things right  for example questions, test or quizzes, and homework because it affects my grade. Also, when my teachers sometimes decide to change the due dates for some assignments last minute,” Israel Ortiz, 11, said.

Throughout junior year of high school, students begin to feel stressed because they are just a year away from graduating. Everything they do, such as keeping up their grades will be significant to colleges the following year once they start filling out applications. Besides keeping a decent GPA they must sign up for their SAT or ACT exams. Many juniors also prepare for AP tests. AP English Language and Composition, AP United States History, AP Psychology, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP Spanish Language and Culture, and AP Spanish Literature and Culture are some of the AP courses available for juniors. Additionally, these students have the added stress of planning out the senior year. They have to choose classes, make sure they’ve met all their graduation and college requirements, and are prepared to leave childhood for the real world. All of these things are swirling around for students, on top of personal and social issues as well.

“Deadlines, AP homework piling up, colleges, checking portals, scholarships, relationships, trying to balance three sports, family life, social life, school life, faith life, and so many more things. It is just too much a 17-year-old has to handle. Overall, it’s a very stressful time during high school,” Associated Student Body President Karely Amaya said.

Amaya has a huge responsibility which at times causes her stress because this has become one of her priorities in addition to the other things going on in her life. Being a senior also involves integrating the whole college application process into her life. However, she has some great methods to relieve her stress such as journaling, getting out and playing some sports and also praying.

“College applications and financial aid is a very stressful time during high school because it’s a process that is very time consuming especially when trying to meet deadlines. The best technique to avoid stressing is to not procrastinate, instead I’d recommend to break things into smaller tasks. And of course take advantage of every moment you have, to do something productive,” Marlen Escobedo, 12, said.