When I began at WJ as a freshman there was an overwhelming amount of stress and pressure due to the stressful classes I was taking and the huge jump in difficulty from middle school. Going from a straight-A student to struggling to get a B in some of my harder classes was tough. Yet, all my junior and senior friends would scoff saying “it only gets worse from here” and “if you can’t handle freshman year, you’re not going to make through to junior year”.
While freshman year I took the easiest classes, I received lower grades than during sophomore year and even this year. But, it turns out my academic performance wasn’t dramatically affected by the difficulty of the classes or the other extracurriculars I did. It was all about my mentality and academic experience. Once I figured out how to deal with the increased workload and pressure of high school I was able to really increase my GPA and my academic confidence.
As a junior this year I had more stress than any year before with college trips, ACT/SAT preparation and subject tests. Also, most juniors tend to take lots of AP classes and overall just taking the most challenging classes. With all this stress and extra burdens, my grades were the best they ever had been. Since I understood how to manage high school classes now and understood the importance of time management and learning early on the classes that would prove to challenge as the year progressed, I was able to effectively balance playing a sport and the whirlwind of academic stress that hit me this year.
So don’t get stressed if you’re a freshman or even a sophomore and your grades aren’t the best they can be; as long as you try your best the skills that you gain will help guide you through an extremely difficult junior year and hopefully help you eventually improve.
Overall, improvement and setting goals for yourself is key in achieving academic success.
I came into high school with the mentality that every class was going to be harder than anything I had ever experienced in middle school, even though I had already taken three high school classes during middle school. I think that this mentality was the thing that drove me to complete all my work on time and in the best quality I could. As a result of my unrealistic expectations of the grades I needed to get in order to get into any college, freshman year was my best academically. However, as a freshman, I decided to opt out of taking an AP my first year unlike a lot of other students. I probably could have handled the workload, but one year of easier classes before I began taking APs turned out to be the best path for me.
Sophomore year was a bit more difficult for me, academically and mentality. I realized that not everything is as difficult as high school is portrayed to be, so I figured that I could slack off a little. This is not to say that I completely slacked off, I just began to do my homework at lunch or with less quality. This being said, I kept a delusion that I would only be able to go to college if I got perfect grades in every class.
Junior year has so far been the most stressful with the lowest grades in my classes that I have ever received. To me, a low B in math was the most anxiety inducing situation I had ever been in, but I have slowly come to the realization that I do not always have to be great at every subject I am in. Personally, I think that my schedule is fairly hard, though some students choose to take far harder classes than mine. Although this year I have been less hard on myself about what is realistic in certain classes, I regained my mentality of doing my homework on time and with quality work.
I believe that the stigma around getting perfect grades and getting into a super hard college should be discouraged at WJ. All it does is create unnecessary stress and feelings of being inadequate when you do not excel in every class. I think that the most valuable piece of advice I can give to anyone with the same perfect grades goal that I had, and honestly still have, is that not getting straight A’s does not make or break anything. High school is more about the experience and growing as a person and a student. Of course, one should always try to get the best grades possible, but it is not the end of the world if you do not have that perfect GPA.