Which Grade is the Hardest at Mountain Ridge?

Which Grade is the Hardest at Mountain Ridge?

Laya Reddy, Head Editor

Which grade do you think is the hardest?

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Junior year is infamous for being the hardest year of high school, but is it really? It seems like every grade just gets harder, but which year really entails the most struggles?


Freshman year

Freshman year, you naturally face three struggles-new school system, new place, and new friends. It’s hard to get accustomed to the size of a high school, especially when most feeder schools to Mountain Ridge are about half our size.  This means you not only get lost a lot in the first week of school because there’s so many buildings, but you also see many more people per day than you’re used to. You just feel a little clueless your freshman year, and rightfully so- you really don’t know too much about this new environment.

You would think that your prior education would provide a smooth transition from middle school to high school, in terms of academics, but it really doesn’t. Classes are harder in high school, and teachers hold students to a higher expectation, so the work you did to earn an A in middle school is equal to a B in high school. But that’s not to say the classes are exceptionally hard in your freshman year. At Mountain Ridge, freshmen are required to take P.E. and health and are rarely allowed to take AP classes, which means the workload is generally lighter than the upcoming years. The one exception, though, is Biology honors. Students and teachers alike will agree that biology honors is the hardest class you will take at Mountain Ridge.

Freshmen year starts the rumble of finding out what you’re interested in. You join clubs that could define the next four years of your life and give you the experiences you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Or you do activities that you realize you hate. Either way, freshmen year is the start of your path to self-discovery.

On a pressure/stress meter, from a scale of one to ten (one being the easiest, ten being the hardest), I would give Freshman year an eight out of ten.


Sophomore year

Sophomore year, you finally start to grasp things. You know what classes you want to take, you know who your friends are, and you know where the best bathrooms on campus are. There are strings attached though- people expect you to know things, so you no longer get the same leeway that you got as a freshman.

At Mountain Ridge, you are allowed to take AP classes your sophomore year, and several students choose to take AP World History, or as it is more commonly know-WHAP. This is arguably one of the most difficult classes you’ll ever take. 33,000 years of history is confusing enough, but make it AP? It’s hard.

On a pressure/stress meter, from a scale of one to ten (one being the easiest, ten being the hardest), I would give Sophomore year a four out of ten.


Junior year

Junior year, the acronyms start. PSAT, SAT, and ACT. And don’t forget SAT subject tests and AP tests. Register for the test, spend weeks studying, then finally test, only to have the cycle sometimes repeat if you’re unhappy with your score. On top of this, you still have to keep up your grades, because this is the last full year of academics that counts towards college applications, so the pressure is on. You’re likely also involved in several other activities, and maybe even lead some of them, so now there’s an additional aspect of your life to balance.

Now you’re really being urged to figure out your future. It’s not just people asking you casually anymore- now, even College Board wants to know as they ask you to fill in the bubble of your preferred major on your SAT and PSAT tests.

On a pressure/stress meter, from a scale of one to ten (one being the easiest, ten being the hardest), I would give Junior year a nine out of ten.


Senior year

Senior year, you start college applications. Now you’re forced to address the question that you’ve been ignoring for the past three years- “What are you going to do with your life?” And sometimes, you just don’t know the answer to it, but you still need to apply to colleges if you want to get accepted! So you research colleges, you fill up the application, you write essays, you get recommendation letters, and you apply. Depending on the number of colleges you’re applying to, the stress can vary, but no matter how many, it’s hectic.

The best part about senior year, though, is definitely the half-day schedule. So while you’re taking difficult classes, you still have fewer of them, which does take a load off your back. But there’s a catch – Senioritis. Even with just four classes, you start to lose the will to put in effort, so you need to counteract that by putting in even more effort to succeed, because your first semester grades do still matter.

On a pressure/stress meter, from a scale of one to ten (one being the easiest, ten being the hardest), I would give Senior year a six out of ten.

Overall, Junior year ranked the most stressful of the grades, with Freshman year at a close second. Regardless of the pressure you face, remember to enjoy your time in high school, because they truly can be four of the best years of your life!