Freshman are adjusting to new responsibilities, such as playing the GPA game and taking advanced or AP courses.
Sophomores are preparing for new responsibilities, such as driving.
Juniors are signing up for the ACT and SAT, working on boosting their GPA, and starting to look at colleges.
Seniors are entering high school for the last time, preparing to enter adulthood.
The first day of school is the start of 172 days of homework, studying for tests, trying to figure out who you are, preparing for college, and devoting time to extracurricular activities, all causing school related stress for students.
“So far my year hasn’t been great,” junior Jakob Hammons said. “It seems like I go home every day exhausted or upset either because of something someone else did, or because I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing that day and wonder what the point of even going was.”
Because of the amount of homework students are given, especially those who take Advanced or AP courses, students don’t get the recommended amount of sleep. According to The National Sleep Foundation, if a person doesn’t sleep well at night, the body will increase its levels of stress hormones. The longer the duration of insufficient amount of sleep occurs, the harder it becomes each day for students to stay awake in school.
“AP U.S. History gives us a lot of homework assignments that take me multiple hours alone to complete before even touching other assignments,” Hammons said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, teenagers between the ages of 13-18 need 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Sophomore Carson Miller said he receives on average 7 hours per night while his classmate, Emily Wingerter, receives on average 6 hours per night, both of which are under the recommended average for teens.
“The four days a week that I work, I’ll get 4-5 hours of sleep, which kills me in school,” senior Chloe Weisinger said.
Starting freshman year, students move from junior high Pre-AP classes to high school Advanced classes. Advanced classes are ranked a 4.5 on a 4.0 scale. Freshman are offered advanced classes such as Biology, Geometry, Algebra 1, World Geography, and English 1. Freshman are even offered an AP course: AP Human Geography.
“I like the diversity high school brings,” freshman Drake Talley said. “It’s interesting.”
Montgomery High School offers 37 AP/Dual Credit classes on campus. These classes are weighted 5.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale because they require more work and move at a faster pace. Students enrolled in AP classes are studying all year long for the class final exam: the AP test.
“My parents push me a lot with school and classes,” senior Tyler Jones said. “However, I push myself a lot too to make good grades.”
The ACT and SAT are standardized tests required to get into college. Juniors and seniors are expected to take these tests, which can cause stress to students, especially those with test anxiety.
“There are a lot of ways to prepare for the ACT and SAT,” Counselor Conni Mathis said. “There are several online platforms that will help with preparation, and we offer an ACT Prep class here on campus.”
Seniors are applying for colleges and getting ready to say goodbye to their high school life. Texas A&M’s automatic admission requires applicants to be in the top 10% of your class, while The University of Texas only accepts the top 6%. While working on college applications, seniors are also going to their last high school dances and football games.
“I’m about to be an adult and have to make every decision for myself,” Weisinger said. “It’s scary. I’ll miss high school and feeling like a kid.”