By Mira Zimmerman
What do high stress levels, racism, self discovery, and college pressures have in common? Junior year. For all students of Forest Grove High School, the 2015-2016 school year has been quite a ride, and riddled with mounting controversial discussions about politics, race, gender, and religion. I think that I’ve learned a lot about my peers in the hallways, and I think that is a good thing. Not exempt from the drama, inside the classroom, the pressure for the class of 2017 is mounting. My peers and I have taken ACTs, SATs, the SBAC, and the exceedingly regular tests we have in our AP classes. The requirements for college seem to demand perfection, and everyone and their brother is asking us about the college we want to go to and what we want to major in and how we will die. I can actually tell you the answer to the later- probably if I’m ever asked about my future ever again. I certainly feel overwhelmed, and I think many of my friends and peers do as well. Junior year is, in a nutshell, an ocean of stress. This ocean is punctuated by new responsibilities and freedoms and adventure- but is principally a lot of mental and emotional duress for many of us. Juniors need to stop being asked to predict the future, and instead, be encouraged to explore options without the need to pick one. Many adults go through life changing their careers and goals and ideas, and so 16 and 17 year olds are certainly not ready to take on the task of choosing our life paths. We are, after all, expected to behave and feel and think like adults, and we aren’t. Those expectations do more harm than good, because they make students afraid of failure. I think that with all the demands surrounding us, we don’t allow ourselves room to be kids and to make mistakes. I observe many of my peers feeling this way, especially with college or careers staring at them in the face. Throughout high school, things are tough- but for me at least, and I believe, a lot of people, the difficulty of junior year really takes the cake. To all of the class of 2017- We are almost done with this year, and regardless of our plans after high school or our GPAs, we have survived- mostly intact. 3 down, 1 to go.