Let’s be real – all four years of college are great, but junior year is probably the best year of college…this is why:
1. You have smaller class sizes.
Most of your classes as a freshman and sophomore were probably LAC classes with maybe just a handful of major/minor classes scattered in. When you’re taking LACs, the sizes are pretty significant because of the amount of people needing (more like having) to take the same classes as you. Once you get into your major classes, the sizes tend to shrink because they’re electives (minus required major classes). It’s nice to have smaller class sizes because you have better opportunities to get to know the people in your class and not feel as uncomfortable when it comes to having to talk in front of them, whether it be a speech or just asking a question.
2. Your classes are filled with familiar faces.
Similar to having smaller class sizes, you will begin to see the same people in your classes. Last semester I didn’t notice any repeats in any of my classes, however this semester I have kid that’s in three out of my five classes. Seeing familiar faces in your classes not only makes you feel more comfortable, it’s a great way to make connections with these peers for when you need a study buddy, or even for just making friends.
3. And you begin to have repeat professors.
Most of the time, professors teach more than just one class in your major, so you may end up taking multiple classes with the same teacher. This puts you at such an advantage when it comes to needing references for jobs or graduate school. Also, like having smaller classes, you probably feel more comfortable because you already know how the professor will be.
4. You’re finally done with LAC (Liberal Arts Core).
LACs are such a pain in the ass and super boring – a main reason why junior year is the best year of college – at this point you’ve (likely) gotten them over and done with. When I took my LACs, I thought they’d be pretty easy but I ended up having such a difficult time with them because I just was not passionate about them at all. Once you hit junior year, the LACs are done for the most part, and you finally get to enjoy what you really want to do – classes in your major.
5. Which means you get to take classes you actually want to take.
Now that you’re done with your LACs (for the most part), you get to delve into what you’re really interested in! Most majors require some of their own core classes, which aren’t always the most exciting, but they are still probably the reason why you are in your major, right?
6. You know your place.
Usually by your junior year, you know where you fit in, and you have your friends (not saying this is the case for everyone). I didn’t go into junior year with many friends because I didn’t know anyone, but I had also gained a lot more confidence and became more outgoing – which definitely helped with the friend thing. The first couple years of college you spend trying to navigate campus and figuring yourself out; but by junior year, you’ve gained a sense of comfort and assurance in yourself that you didn’t have before.
7. You’re halfway there!
“Oh-oh, we’re HALFWAY there, oh-oh, we’re living on a prayer,” *music emoji*. On a serious note, though, you’ve completed four semesters now and you only have four more left – making junior year the best year of college (you’re not just starting but not just ending yet either)! This is an accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself. You are getting a degree in four semesters, which is something not everyone does. Take pride in knowing how close you are to something you’ve been working hard for for a long period of time now.
8. You can (legally) go out.
Not everyone is always 21 when they’re a junior (like me), but most people do turn 21 during the year and can finally go out with friends without having to use a fake or pay cover. I’m not one to go out with either of those, but the feeling of having the opportunity to do so is nice. So if you’ve had a rough week and those tests kicked your ass, you can actually go out and enjoy yourself without the added stress that the doorman will snag your fake.
9. You get dibs on classes.
Once you hit junior status, you are given the opportunity to register for classes before the freshmen and sophomores, so you actually have a better chance of getting into the classes that you want. It’s always a bummer when you don’t get into the class you wanted, but hey – you’re a junior – not gonna happen!
10. You have tons of new opportunities.
This is about the time you should be looking into internships and TAing (teacher assisting) opportunities that are available to you to boost your resume, as well as gain experience. RA (research assistant) opportunities are good to look into as well. Since you are more acquainted with your professors by junior year, it’s easier to land an assistant job with them because they know you and your work ethic.
Honestly I believe each year is the best year of college, but junior year brings about so many new opportunities that weren’t there before. Aside from all of the stress of the GRE, job searching, interning, etc., junior year is a blast! Be sure to enjoy the rest of your four semesters and keep aiming for the stars!