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Katie Lamkin

Special Correspondent

 

Balance. From the time we can understand our mother tongue, we are told to balance. It starts simple enough with the physical request to actually balance. Just do not end up face first on the floor. As we grow, that word becomes more and more demanding. That demand hits its peak junior year in high school.

By definition, balance involves “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady” according to Google.

For a junior, there are many things to balance. With the heavy academic load, community service, sports, jobs, and friends, balance is crucial and difficult.

What makes it difficult is the fact that none of these things have actual weight; the balance is all mental. Which weighs more: A trip to the mall or math homework? Studying for a history test or doing a shift at the food pantry?

It is easy to lose balance in life. An equal balance between doing well and having fun is crucial to a good junior year.

Often people put their social life before their education in high school. According to campusexplorer.com, “sacrificing your grades for your social life” is one of the most common mistakes high school students make. This is especially relevant junior year when grades are paramount for college, but at the same time, students are no longer underclassmen, can drive, and like to socialize. This imbalance can make a high school learning experience worthless.

When all of one’s activities and responsibilities are not balanced, life becomes a bundle of stress.

Junior year, many students fail at maintaining a balance and end up hurting themselves with the resulting stress. Imbalance can take many forms, but a common one is students becoming obsessed with grades. They forget to balance schoolwork with relaxation and fun. Ultimately, this takes a toll on school performance, and physical and emotional health.

Another common imbalance is trying to stay up and cram for school work, resulting in sleep deprivation. This can be seen in the majority of the junior student body. Sleep deprivation causes things from decreased memory in the short term, to mental impairment and obesity in the long term, according to WebMD.

No matter what the imbalance, the resulting stress interrupts emotional health.

All of these effects are seen frequently as juniors are trying to impress colleges with their long list of accomplishments and activities.

For some juniors, the balance is met. By splitting their time between all activities, these fortunate students are able to optimize their junior year while still enjoying their experience.

Although nothing is guaranteed, doing well throughout junior year will definitely put students on the right track for the future. A successful junior year will not only help students get accepted to college, it will also teach them to perfect study habits, work ethic and selflessness.

Junior year plays a crucial role in determining a high school experience. The goal of students is to strike a balance. The balance might not be perfect, but ultimately the goal has not changed for the last 16 years; Just do not end up face first on the floor. As UrbanDictionary.com defines a typical high school experience, “it’s the beginning of the rest of your life, but it is not the end of the world.”

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