Is it worth the A?


Photo by: Sophia Williams

Juniors are often overwhelmed with their workload and can feel as though they are drowning in their studies.

Sophia Williams, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Junior year: the tip of the iceberg, the mountain’s peak, the hellish, fiery depths of high school suffering. No doubt about it, junior year is the hardest, most stressful year of high school. The realization of soon-to-be adulthood hits along with mounds of AP assignments and SAT/ACT tests.

Junior year is complete and total chaos, the embodiment of a mental breakdown. The question is, do students create their own panic?

Here in Rochester, most students are met with the expectation that they must get straight A’s, 4.0’s, and perfectly pristine 1600’s and 36’s…or they’ll end up in some low-life job, living the life of a complete failure. Naturally, everyone wants to be the best, do the most, and rise above the norm in academia. Nevertheless at Adams, the only way to “be the best” is to drive themselves to insanity juggling an unrealistic number of challenging classes on top of excelling in a plethora of time-consuming extracurricular activities. It is impossible. This is why junior year is so incredibly terrible; everyone is doing way too much. Let’s be honest, juniors, this is not your fault.

Peer pressure is not a foreign concept, but it is often not thought of in connection with academics. News flash- Adams students are peer pressured to take on these crazy classes! Here at Adams, there is a stigma against taking easier classes, or rather classes suited to a student’s academic level. Even simply talking to juniors about school is stressful, they “name drop” every single AP and advanced course they’re in. Every single student is guilty of this – admit it. It’s cool to sound smart and cultured. It’s not so cool to hear about the consequential burden of stress they’re under.

“Yeah, I feel like that does happen a lot [academic peer pressure] because people in lower classes feel pressured to take harder classes compared to the people taking 3 AP’s in one year. Everybody who’s taking regular government [compared to AP government] feels like, ‘you’re like… stupid.’” said Junior Sabrina Reich.

How many times have students been advised  to take and retake the SAT and ACT over and over again to get that pristine score? How many AP credits are worth a student’s mental deterioration?  How much can a junior really take until he is completely winded and devoid of all passions? It’s inescapable, the constant echoing reminder that he or she is not as good as everyone else. In fact, a survey by the APA (American Psychological Association) found that around 45 percent of teens are stressed by school pressures, AKA academia. These expectations in the Rochester community has placed on students is frankly too much, and juniors live up to them year after year. Even some teachers agree; conferences have become more of a bragging fest by helicopter parents than an actual check-up on grades.

“It’s crazy! I’m so stressed 24/7 and I don’t get a break like ever it sucks. Yeah, I feel like since it’s your junior year, you’re pressured to take on harder classes because they look good for college, but like, do they really?  I mean like people are like ‘Oh, I took AP psych, you should take it- and you take it and you’re like- this class is awful! Why did I take this?’ it sucks.” said Junior Katie Lane-Waters.

Perhaps this obnoxious workload is good for the juniors. After all, hard times shape character. Some people thrive under stress and tough love, but others just don’t. Forget about the GPAs and test scores for a second and really think- what matters the most, above all else? Is an ‘A’ worth a sleepless night? Is a 36 valuable enough for a breakdown? Where is the line drawn from academic passion to educational self abuse? Too much stress causes chronic stress, which leads down a miserable, unhealthy path… not ideal! So, dear sophomores, please consider oneself before the grade, and do not let peers’ SAT scores determine one’s own self worth. In life, there will always be someone better, and someone worse. It’s okay to fall in the middle.