We all know the average freshman: someone traveling in a pack of friends, lugging around his or her biology textbook and frantically looking for a new club to join.
Then comes the cheery sophomore, busy junior and carefree senior. But what is the psychological difference between upper and lower classmen? According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, by the end of their four years of high school, teens gained 15% more of a sense of meaning in their life, became 17% more happy and hopeful about their lives and experienced a 15% drop in depression symptoms.
What upperclassmen do not realize when laughing at the prepubescent kid standing in the middle of the hallway is that the poor kid looks up to them.
According to Psychology Today, the learning curve of freshmen increases when they spend more time with upperclassmen. Juniors and seniors offer a foothold into the academic and social future that freshmen have yet to experience.
While students gain freedom during sophomore year, they also gain responsibility and joining the workforce provides just that. It may even benefit parents.
“[Work] brings in more revenue for the family and decreases the stress parents feel. It also provides teens with a beneficial way to spend their time after school,” says Tom Davies, sophomore.
With junior year comes a completely new academic struggle that is AP classes. The Advanced Placement curriculum offers intensive college level classes. Students are forced to determine the intensity of the workload that would benefit them most in the long run, projecting towards college and beyond. Because of this, most people say that junior year is the hardest year of high school to get through.
According to Western Kentucky University, students who have taken two or more AP classes have a 76% chance of completing their bachelor’s degree.
Lastly, there are the idolized seniors. They are the captains of the varsity teams, the most outstanding musicians and the most skilled artists. From afar, senior year may seem like paradise. But unfortunately, even though the three previous years taught them well, senior year can often be full of nostalgia. They begin to realize the community and group of friends they are distancing themselves from as they choose their future universities.
But all in all, four years of high school do end up coming to a successful close.