Which Year is the Hardest

Angela Stansbery, Staff Writer

“High school only gets harder.” That is what they say at least, right? No matter which year it may be, there are going to be challenges. Expect to always have homework, heavy textbooks and late nights spent studying or finishing projects, because high school is not always easy. However, there is one year that takes the crown as the hardest year in high school.

Freshman year

Here begins the experience of high school. In theory, it should be the easiest year.  Beginnings always tend to be the easiest. There are no AP classes that are offered to freshmen, and they typically do not have to worry about taking the ACT or SAT. But, freshmen year still presents its own set of challenges.  

“It was really different from middle school,” sophomore Kavya Alagendran said. “The classes got harder and the work got harder.”  

Middle school to high school has always been seen as a hard transition. The work and commitment that is required in ninth grade is drastically higher than that of the lower grade levels.  

“The classes were all more serious and the teachers were more serious,” Alagendran said. “They weren’t super lenient about work.”

Sophomore year

This year brings the opportunity for AP classes, as well as access to ACT and SAT practice tests. More classes are available at this grade level, now that certain prerequisites are met. Along with harder classes, there are also more interesting classes students can take, such as newspaper, yearbook, photography, ceramics, advanced theater and woods. The difficulty should increase with these added challenges. But what truly makes it harder?

“Nothing,” junior Maya Demirchian said. “It was a really easy year. Academically, it wasn’t that bad at all.”  

The classes, although more abundant, do not seem to make sophomore year any more intense and overwhelming than freshmen year.  

“Sophomore year was so much easier [than freshmen year],” Demirchian said.

Junior year  

This is the class that an increase in offered AP classes along with an increase in “power” as the title of “upper classmen” is now granted. Entering the upper level of high school adds pressure. College is now on the horizon. With more AP classes and the weight of beginning college searching, junior year presents several difficulties.

“All of my classes were weighted,” senior Catherine Wilkins said. “Plus there was the added pressure because this is the year that colleges are considering whether or not to accept you. Nothing was easy [about junior year].”

During junior year there is not only the stress of the current classes, but the stress of nailing classes for the future.

Senior year

Here ends the experience of high school, the last step before entering college. There are two types of seniors, those that use senior year as a blow off year and those that continue to take AP courses. The amount of AP classes offered for seniors vs. juniors does not really change, though. There are the select few that walk the path of both.

“AP classes were the hardest part,” alumni Alexander Stansbery said. “The rest of my classes were the easiest part. It helped balance out the hardness of the AP classes so my year wasn’t too stressful.”

There still remains the pressure of colleges, for some seniors still have not picked the next path yet. But with a balance between AP classes and an equal amount of blow off classes, than it seems as though there should be a happy balance. They cancel each other out in a way. But with college just in sight, stress is still bound to be present in the lives of seniors.

Although, all grade levels pose their own struggles, the winner is clear.

“Junior year,” Demirchian said.  

“Junior year,” Wilkins said.

“Junior year,” Stansbery said. “That’s when you take a bunch of ACTs and, for me, that’s when I had my most advanced class load.”

Junior year unanimously takes the crown for the hardest year in high school. It is the biggest year for AP courses and it is essential in the college process, along with the amount of homework drowning anyone and everyone. For those that have yet to complete their junior year, good luck. You will stay afloat as long as you manage your time wisely and study study study.  For those that have already completed the grade, congratulations, you have already gone through the hardest year in high school.