JUNIOR YEAR: WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE
Fellow reader, if you’re reading this article, I’d reckon you a Sophomore–likely an introvert– fearful of the upcoming year, suspicious of its stock. Or, perhaps, you’re a Junior student reading the article with the purpose of leisure. Either ways, commence reading as I recount my experience in what others describe as “The Thursday Night of High School”.
In its simplest sense, that phrase depicts the Junior Year as the beginning of an end, for this academic year is the final episode before Senior Year and is deemed the most critical one.
Students have surpassed the age of consent and are thus regarded as adults. With that power comes great responsibility and duty. Do DJIS students, however, live up to their expectations? Or– like Gatsby’s efforts to fulfill his version of the American Dream– do the students fail at their endeavors?
When asked about their experiences during the Junior year, most students point out to the stress the year retains. Indeed, relative to the Sophomore Year, the Junior year is much more demanding. Of course, much of the pressure is attributed to the year being project-based; the research, poem, and speeches are a few instances of such graded assignments.
In addition, the SAT imposes additional stress on students as it is a critical factor for their college applications. Dates are tight and often coincide with those of regular exams, augmenting the intricacy of practice. During the first semester, however, a few SAT sessions are held, but prove inadequate on their own.
Compared to Freshmen and Sophomores, Juniors exhibit higher levels of maturity, at least in my opinion. Mockery prevails, but is chiefly for the sake of teasing or entertainment. Bullying is minimal, and fights barely transpire. I am not one who believes age is an indication of maturity, but in this specific case, the correlation is apparent.
In terms of their education, however, not all students acquire the needed levels of responsibility. Many students skip on tasks, forget assignments, and neglect quizzes. Those specific students are in stark contrast to the high-achievers who continue to multiply in number.
One critical difference between the Junior year and its precedents would be its educators. Indeed, grade 11 teachers treat their students in a whole different manner than previous tutors did. They treat students as adults and have corresponding expectations for them. With that comes a bond of friendship that was not potent a few years ago, as students often discuss out-of-school matters with their teachers.
Of course, not all teachers exhibit those levels of cordiality, and some are exceedingly professional. The diversity of those teachers’ personalities, however, is what maintains the balance students entail.
The assessment and scoring during this year are quite similar to those of its precedent, but are different in a few aspects. For instance, while this year is also divided into similar categories: Quizzes, Exams, Class Work, Homework, and Projects, the emphasis on each is different. In the case of projects, for example, their significance is elevated and intensified. All subjects demand at least one project, and almost all come with a specific rubric. Their difficulty comes not in their complexity but in their quantity.
One specific subject most students found demanding this year was English. In addition to the tests and exams, several projects, homework assignments, and class assignments have been accorded over the year. This, however, is an advantage to everyone, for it reduces the weight of each task and raises one’s scores.
Also, the English subject, I was informed, is similar in both the Senior and Junior years.
Mr. Ammar Merhbi, Edtech & TESOL, M.A, says,
“For the English subject, we follow the Common Core State Standards. The Grade 9 and 10 learning objectives are the same; Grades 11 and 12 are also the same, and so you might find a bit of dip from 8 to 9 and 10 to 11 as the standards for learning outcome are not the same. We call this the Spiral Curriculum. There are also other dependent variables included that make or fill in the gap in grades.”
In conclusion, the Junior Year was both demanding and delighting. Stress overhauled; teachers treated us as adults; and students coped with the new changes. Of course, one student could not speak for the majority, so do maximize accuracy of results, I interviewed several Junior students. Results were mostly negative, but few exhibited optimism.
Youssef Serag: “This year was extremely tiring.”
Rami Amin: “This year is very special, as we are really close to concluding our school days.”
Abdullah Abu Samra: “It is a year of critical time management and hard work.”
Mohammad Bassi: “A mess of bombshell of unpreparedness where they bombarded us with projects and homework each after the other.”
Ismail Amr: “It was a great year, full of amazing friends and teachers, yet contained many hardships.”
Ghalib Hussein: “An overwhelmingly stressful year.”
Saed Ibrahim: “It was exceedingly stressful.”
Abdulwareth Aroub: “It exposes you to new things.”
Ahmed Sheikh: “It was pretty stressful and even painful.”
Hussein Aziz: “It has been quite a hectic year, but it was better than I expected!”
Badr Abbas: “Ah, where to start? This year has been an incredible journey for me; it has been a year of intense growth thanks in no small part to the opportunities I found available to me as a Junior. There has been a range of extracurricular activities, ranging from community service during hours to trips to the French Consulate of Jeddah as a reporter of this very magazine, The View. The challenges that I faced, which, most of the time, I chose to face, pushed me to the limit, and now that this year is coming to a close, I must say that I can only be thankful for the opportunities I have had and people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Future juniors should stay keen and be aware that in junior year, the sky really is the limit.”