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Which Year of High School is Hardest?

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Freshmen Year

By Olivia Johnson

It is hard to say which year of high school is hardest when you are just a freshman. In fact, it is practically impossible. But hey, freshmen have to hold their own. Now of course, academically freshmen year is a breeze for most, at least compared to years to come. Most will learn that the hard way, but we face other challenges during everyday school life. We are considered “bottom of the high school food chain.” Frustratingly, athletes are usually prone to make the freshmen team unless equipped with godly skill. It is also hard to imagine the upperclassman in your shoes just a few years ago. No doubt that sophomores, juniors, and seniors have their struggles, but remember the challenges freshmen face, because everyone has experienced it. Without saying freshmen year is hardest, I will say it is no piece of cake.


Sophomore Year

By Kayla Parker-Discala

For most students, sophomore year is big leap from freshmen year. You are given much more responsibility, you are expected to know so much more, and the classes are much more difficult. In freshmen year, you’re introduced to high school and you’re just learning the ropes of it, you’re also “babied” most of the time. When you become a sophomore, you get hit with more work than you thought. There are more tests you have to study for and  take, along with weekly quizzes that you don’t always expect. Also, some students take AP Euro, which makes most students realize that they have to manage their time better. Sophomores are usually fifteen going on sixteen, which means they can get their license. Later on in the year, sophomores also have to take the California High School Exit Exam, another important test sophomores add to their agenda. Along with the tests, quizzes, and responsibility; sophomores realize that college is a very large factor and they do look at your grades to see what and how you did your second year of high school. Sophomore year is no time to lay back and relax, its a time to buckle down and get ready for what’s to come.

Junior Year

By Jenna Clemente

There is a constant battle of which grade in high school is harder. Personally, I believe Junior year is the hardest. Junior year is the first year where students start to take more than one AP class. They are new to taking multiple AP classes and are trying to juggle all their classes. Because they haven’t taken multiple AP classes before, they are trying to adjust their new schedule to make time for each class. “Definitely Junior year is the hardest. I’m taking five AP classes so that makes it hard. Teachers are also trying to prep you for college so they are harder on you. It’s also a reality check. Juniors realize college is coming and they need to prepare for that.” says, Junior, Anna Bruns. Junior year is also the year that counts. Colleges look mainly on junior year to see if a student is academically eligible for their school. The pressure of facing your-whole-life-is-ahead-so-don’t-mess-it-up is nerve wrecking. Junior year is the year most students take the ACTs and SATs. On top of all the studying for the AP test, juniors have to prepare for the SATs and ACTs as well. We are constantly reminded that higher education determines where we will end up in life and the idea of ruining that scares us. The pressure is higher during our Junior years.

Senior Year
By Agafaye Victorino 
 Senior year is the hardest for some in the sense that they are literally the last class and the top of the totem pole. There are times that the home stretch of a race is often the most difficult. Well, think of the last year of high school as the home stretch… of school.Think that freshmen year is hard because that student does not know what to do? In that case, classes can be hard if not impossible due the immense amount of effort needed (especially in English, US History and the foreign language classes). Junior year as hardest year? Meh, sure, fine. Some students have academically exhausted themselves from the previous year and somehow manage to spend their time lollygagging in order to regain what energy they had that was lost. Alternately, others can still exhaust themselves from the AP classes, the sports, the extracurricular stuff going on and the advanced classes if junior year did not squeeze the effort out of their being. Students lose interest in school as bigger, better things arise. Caught up in their future, seniors often forget what measures they need to take to get there–graduating. And once they get off track it is a steep downward plunge, difficult to get back up. If junior year does not exhaust you, then senioritis will overtake the unlucky one next year and rob him/her of his/her motivation to graduate.
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About the Writers
Olivia Johnson, Staff Writer

It is Olivia Johnson's first year at San Juan. She loves to surf, cheer, and write. She's interested in volunteering at a non-profit horse back riding...

Jenna Clemente, Staff Writer

Senior 2014. I am a writer for the San Juan Hills newspaper. I enjoy soccer, lacrosse, surfing, and paddleboarding. I prefer cold, rainy weather over any...

Agafaye Victorino, Staff Writer

Agafye is a short, far-sighted 18-year old quirky senior with seemingly long dark brown hair and a strange sense of humor. Often she wears glasses and...


11 Responses to “Which Year of High School is Hardest?”

  1. Ashish Patnaik on June 11th, 2017 12:32 PM

    I personally disagree with these notions. I believe that sophomore year is the easiest year of high school because you are used to the high school environment more than you are in freshman year. I am a current freshman who is going to be a sophomore and I have personally talked to sophomores about their curriculum. They told me that freshman year, in fact, was much more challenging than sophomore year. I have also checked out all the sophomore teachers’ websites and I find that what they are teaching is much easier than the curriculum in freshman year.

  2. Taylor on March 20th, 2018 8:32 AM

    I disagree. I’m a junior in HS rn, and I have three more months of school left. I’m stressing about everything. Junior year IS the hardest!

  3. lailahcallahan on October 18th, 2017 6:08 AM

    Junior year is the most stressful/difficult year of them all. im a junior taking 2 AP classes while also trying to balance other classes as well. i deal with book reports, 3 page long essays, tons of homework from 7 different classes everyday,and projects.not only that im in advanced varsity III so i HAVE to pass all my classes. i also have to deal with trying to get into college and graduating. its very stressful !! The thought of colleges constantly stalking my grades and GPA is tourture because im trying to go to college. ugh junior year, either u sink or float..

  4. Payton Kedziora on January 3rd, 2018 4:55 PM

    I would personally say that by sophomore year, the workload gets more intense and that you may find yourself working for several hours most nights on homework. I am a sophomore this year and so far, some classes can become pretty work intensive with a lot of memorization (e.g history). Personally speaking, I am more of a math person than a history person. My advice is just keep your grades the best they can be as it could have an effect on your gpa, and it’ll keep you in good shape for college. Don’t slack off 😉 High school is it!

  5. Tristin on January 19th, 2018 10:43 PM

    Agreed. I’m on my second semester of junior year and I’m in AP English, AP commercial art, economics, algebra 2/trig, accounting 1, and chemistry. I have a 15 page paper due around the time I have to submit a portfolio to college board, a biography to read on top of that, prep for college and the SAT, national exams, mocks, finals, and more. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. Freshman year was the easiest for me since we were given so many breaks from open note tests to slow classes. Even the honors classes were easy and sophomore year seemed to be easier and go even faster. I hate how people call students lazy when we basically have full time jobs for 4 years unpaid and the hardworking are drained of all energy left by graduation. Sigh. Can’t wait to just finish already.

  6. Anissah Appelbaum on January 26th, 2018 11:26 AM

    For myself, all my four years at SJHHS have been outstanding, and yes, that includes my freshman year. Even though I understand the psychology of how freshmen feel when they start high school, I felt very brave during Freshman year, I couldn’t wait to start a new school. (Note that I am autistic, so I am more one-of-a-kind than others.) I really love it when all my teachers expect some outstanding news about my behavior and my grades.
    However, I do feel a little shy that I will be graduating in June. I thought I would have the so-called “senioritis”, but I don’t, after I found out that meant procrastinating all the time and avoiding what you have to cram in, missing assignments most of the time, missing school most of the time or being late to class, etc. I’m not that type of person.
    Still, I feel that everyone should be brave enough to manage their time easily and not worry about school or any important assignments or quizzes.

  7. Will Coppock on April 29th, 2018 10:00 PM

    From my experience, sophomore year of high school was my most difficult year of high school in terms of academics. Why? Because I found the 8th and 9th grade coursework difficulty and workload easier than the 10th grade. In the 8th and 9th grades, it is true that my teachers did assign lots of homework. However, the homework and material was simple compared to 10th grade and beyond. That is because the classes were introductory.
    I remember in 8th grade, I took Algebra 1, Spanish 1, 8th grade english, general science (a mix of earth, life and physical science), U.S. History and Physical Education. The classes were mostly easy A’s (I did end up with a B in eighth grade science (both semesters)) assuming if you did well on homework, participated in class and did well on the quizzes and exams. I think I had a GPA about 3.8 in eighth grade.
    In 9th grade, I took Honors Geometry, 9th grade english, Spanish 2, 9th grade Physics (Algebra 1 as a prerequisite, geometry as a co-requisite), World History and Intro to Acting. 9th grade material was harder but not by much. In my freshmen year, I got A’s and B’s (I had 2 B’s in Spanish 2, and one B in 9th grade english, and one B in Honors Geometry (second semester) and two B’s in Intro to Acting. My 9th grade grade physics class was a joke because if you read the textbook, the teacher’s slides, do well on the homework and participate in class, you would probably do well on the exams assuming you study and practice the problems. The math was simple because all you need was mostly basic algebra and geometry and maybe basic trigonometry. Basically, my freshman GPA was about a 3.7. Furthermore, when I was in 8th and 9th grade, I felt like I was in junior high school because the workload and coursework was at a junior high school level. But they do prepare you for real high school coursework.
    However, when I was in 10th grade, my schedule was tougher. I felt like I was taking real high school level classes because the material was at an actual high school level. I took 10th grade english, Algebra 2 and Trigonometry (Honors), Biology, Spanish 3/Intermediate Spanish and A.P. Human Geography. First semester grades respectively were B, A(Honors), B, C, B(AP) or a 3.4 GPA. Second semester grades were A, A(Honors), C, C, B(AP) or a 3.4 GPA again. However, in my junior year, I tried harder and improved my GPA. I had a 3.7 in the junior year. Senior year, I slacked off a teeny-tiny bit but I still mustered a competent 3.5 GPA. Overall, my high school GPA was somewhere between a 3.5-3.6 GPA.
    However, I found the SAT and ACT to be more of a challenge than high school coursework. I had a 22 ACT (26 Math, 24 Science, 20 Writing, 19 Reading) and a 1490 SAT score out of 2400 (600 Math, 450 Reading, 440 Writing). But, I did get accepted to a competitive university in California (UCR to be more precise and have graduated in 2015 with an Economics degree).
    In terms of social life, 9th and 10th grade were the hardest because I was trying to make friends and remember names. Not to mention, I was bullied (verbally) by a couple of people at my grade level or beyond my grade level. But by 11th -12th grade, the students were mature at this level and the losers dropped out of high school or they got mature too.
    But overall, my extracurricular activities were reasonably strong, my high school GPA was competent but could have been better, and my test scores were about average(nationally)/low for competitive universities and beyond. Still, I enjoyed my years as a teenager and they prepared me for adulthood.
    In summary, when you are in 7th-12th grade, these are the most important grade levels of your life because you are going to have to think and behave like an adult to graduate from high school let alone get into college especially for getting into a competitive university. Enjoy these years while they last because life is going to get harder especially when you are in college and beyond.

  8. Jamie on May 18th, 2018 12:56 PM

    Freshman year is the easiest. Sophomore is getting hard because of chemistry and history. Junior year is stressful. Senior year you need to keep up with everything and getting ready to go in the world.

  9. MiguelAngel Rosales on March 6th, 2019 7:49 AM

    Ironically, the freshman year of high school is a NIGHTMARE for MY lousy, autistic noggin (I have Asperger syndrome)!!! I can’t keep up with any of the classes except science, music/band, and art– not to mention that some sixth graders (yes, I am in a “hybrid” school: Audubon Technology and Communication Center) and many upperclassmen bully me like they’re starting World War III. I do receive less assignments in most classes except social studies, but it’s still not enough to heal my mental and emotional wounds! My SNAPSHOT GPA is like 1.5 thanks to this fat, no-good high school junior that calls me “Mr. Two-Cents Guy” because he believes that I give two cents to everybody’s conversations. With sarcasm, I simply cannot wait to go to summer school– WHEN WILL I BUTT OUT OF FRESHMAN YEAR?! I have never failed a class, but these early blunders will forever prevent me from going to Sophomore Year or even GRADUATING FROM HELL HIGH SCHOOL!!! THE BULLYING HAS TO STOP!!!!!!

  10. Abri on April 24th, 2019 8:37 PM

    I definitely agree junior year is likely going to be the hardest. This year I’m a sophomore and so far, my honors classes have been relatively easy. Last year as a Freshman I took sophomore Geometry and struggled a bit second semester. I was hoping Algebra 2, a class with juniors, might be more my style(I prefer algebra over geometry) but NOOOO!!!! It is so difficult and almost everyone has b’s or lower. Our teacher is really hard on us and never gives us any sort of extra credit to help us raise our grades. Now looking back I wish I could go back to geometry bc it seems so much easier. I’m gonna take a big fat Rip next year bc I’m taking almost all AP classes next year and I’m going to be taking trig/calc. I’m terrified bc even the smartest juniors and senior taking it talk about how they are struggling in that class. I’m just gonna kiss my gpa goodbye right now.

  11. Ananya on May 13th, 2019 3:51 AM

    I personally find the sophomore year the toughest . Children are often given too much responsibilty , work , study material and more stress . Second year ain’t the best for me . Since I study CBSE curriculum , the succeeding year would be the toughest . 9th graders would prepare for their boards and believe me … it is very stressfull. Children of the sophomore year have to mainly study , study and come off the box to be intellectuals .


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