11 steps to 11th grade


Melissa Johnson

Editor’s Note: We are re-publishing this popular series for the start of a new school year. This story originally ran in 2015.

  1. Don’t be surprised that IB classes are hard.

IB classes are going to be not just a step up from those honors classes that you took all through 9th and 10th grade; it is more like a flight of stairs. Don’t be surprised when you have a 12 page textbook reading, a bio IA (trust me you will get to know acronyms), and an English IOP all due on one day. Biggest advice in handling that big load is simply, don’t procrastinate and get it done. Spending time complaining and crying over the workload is only going to suck energy out of you that you will definitely need to complete those tasks.


  1. Get friendly with your counselor.

Now is the time to become friends with your counselor, if you have not even met your counselor, and have spent the past two years avoiding him/her, it is time to stop and meet them. Not only will they be crucial in your college application process, but any summer programs/internships that you will want to pursue will pretty much guarantee requesting a counselor’s recommendation.


  1. Establish a relationship with your current teachers.

When applying to college, you will most definitely need a teacher recommendation, and specifically the recommendation should come from an 11th or 12th grade teacher. So start early, and make sure that you have a good relationship with at least two teachers.


  1. Know where to park.

By Spring, you WILL be sharing the junior lot with sophomores. At this time, sophomores will start to get their license, which means they will start to encroach into the junior lot. BEFORE you attempt to park in the senior lot, you better be 120% sure that there is not one parking spot left in the junior lot. And even when you’re sure, just know that you will get flack for being in the senior lot.


  1. Accept that you may be extremely sleep deprived at times.

When you have gotten five hours of sleep, take a deep breath, and remember there is light at the tunnel, June will come and before you know it you will be a senior.


  1. Don’t procrastinate.

To avoid sleep deprivation and case of insanity, do your work, and do it early. Enough said.


  1. Pace yourself.

In addition to your academics, you will be faced with outside of school responsibilities. Whether you need to complete CAS hours or National Honors Society service hours; keep up and make sure you are pacing yourself.


  1. You don’t need to start talking about colleges yet!

When people think of junior year, they think applying to college soon. Get ready for the ‘where are you thinking of applying to’ question on the daily from your parents, teachers, and even fellow students. It is okay to say ‘I don’t know.’ Remember most of us aren’t applying to college until August before senior year.


  1. The cafeteria is not off limits.

Contrary to belief it is not shameful to be a junior in the cafeteria. Let’s be honest the alcoves are crowded, dirty, and don’t have tables to finish last minute homework. As exciting as the perk of alcoves are; you are not any less of a junior if you do not live in the alcove during lunch. I mean lets be honest; it is hard to finish your homework on your lap.


  1. Study hall is your friend.

Sure, watching Netflix or Youtube for the entire block seems like heaven, but ultimately if you can use study hall as a real time to get work done, you will be forever grateful to yourself when you can go to bed a somewhat decent hour, as opposed to losing more sleep to unfinished work.


  1. You’ll survive.

It goes by fast. I know when you are deep in hours of work and lack of sleep, it will seem like the year is crawling, however, you will get to June before you know it. You will get to the point where all the testing and loads of stress start to wear off, and suddenly you are left with the feeling that you have one year left of high school and that you are in the homestretch.