By Emily Bingham, Utah-Idaho District governor 

Having recently completed my junior year of high school, I can attest to the unique blend of challenges and growth opportunities this phase brings. Join me as I reflect on my experience and share eight essential tips that can help incoming juniors make the most of their high school journey and set the stage for the future. 

  • Master time management. I can’t stress enough how crucial this is during junior year. Adopting methods like the Pomodoro Technique transformed the way I studied. Breaking my study sessions into focused intervals with short breaks improved my concentration and productivity, preventing burnout in the process. 
  • Strategically plan for college. As I start the college application process, I now understand the impact early planning has already made in my senior year. Researching colleges, identifying potential majors and creating a detailed application timeline helped me stay organized and alleviate stress. Utilize online resources, campus visits and conversations with current college students to gather insights and make informed decisions. 
  • Nurture teacher relationships. Building strong connections with teachers had a significant impact on my junior year. Active engagement in class discussions, asking questions and attending office hours (I attend an online school) improved my understanding of subjects and led to mentorship opportunities. I’ve already had teachers offer to help with letters of recommendation. 
  • Explore meaningful extracurriculars. My involvement in extracurricular activities (especially Key Club, of course) enriched my high school experience. I joined clubs aligned with my passions, volunteered in my community and found joy in pursuing creative outlets. These activities not only allowed me to connect with like-minded peers but also enhanced my college-bound “resume” by showcasing my dedication and diverse interests. 
  • Fine-tune study techniques. Alongside the Pomodoro Technique, I explored active recall, spaced repetition and other strategies that catered to my learning style. Customizing my study approach significantly improved my comprehension and retention of complex subjects. 
  • Balance self-care and academic demands. Navigating the pressures of junior year requires a commitment to self-care. Incorporating mindfulness practices and maintaining an exercise routine became essential for managing stress and maintaining my overall well-being. Prioritizing adequate sleep and carving out time for social interactions contributed to my success both academically and personally. 
  • Set precise goals. I discovered that setting SMART goals was instrumental in achieving success. Breaking down larger goals into manageable steps allowed me to track my progress and celebrate milestones. Embracing setbacks as learning opportunities helped me develop resilience and a growth-oriented mindset. 
  • Embrace growth and adaptation. Through junior year, I realized that personal growth often involves embracing change and exploring new paths. I allowed myself to pursue unexpected interests and pivot my goals based on evolving passions. This flexibility empowered me to remain open to new opportunities and possibilities. 

As an incoming senior, I wholeheartedly encourage incoming juniors to embrace these tips. You’ll navigate your junior year with confidence and lay a strong foundation for your future endeavors. Remember, your junior year is a canvas of possibilities — paint it with determination, curiosity and an eagerness to learn and grow.