The Awkward Year: 13 Things Nobody Tells You About Being A College Junior
Published in Apr 2021 / Updated in Aug 2021
Here’s the harsh truth: junior year will be awkward and confusing for you. When you were a freshman, everyone seemed to like you because you were just a baby.
I am sure you've heard many insights on how college life will be, especially the life-altering freshman year. By the time most people enter college, they know they have to learn to manage their finances and their time to enjoy themselves.
In your sophomore year, you still enjoy many benefits associated with freshmen, with the added perk of being a little more settled and comfortable in your college life.
However, things take a quick turnaround during your junior year. You might have already gotten over your homesickness, but the reality of life starts to weigh on you.
Generally, there are many classes to deal with, and there is just too much for you to handle. Seniors are usually living it up and lamenting that they are enjoying their last semester in college.
However, juniors are usually going through a crisis. So, we’ll focus on the tumultuous junior year.
1. You Become A Minority
It doesn’t take long after becoming a junior for you to realize that you are now just a small part of the student community. Within the first week, you realize that freshmen have taken over bars, so you don’t know many of the faces you see.
Hearing the young girls order Dirty Shirleys also gets on your nerves because all you want is beer. The tricky part is that you cannot be too judgmental because you were just like them a few years back.
2. You Have To Be Responsible Now
In your junior year, you turn 21, which might sound like a good thing. However, this means you have to be responsible, which, as you know, means you cannot afford to do some of the stupid fun things you have been doing in the past few years.
Morning hangovers have to be a thing of the past; and you can’t sleep until noon. You are a grown up now.
In fact, you finally accept that you can be in college and not drink at all, which might sound strange to a typical first-year student or a sophomore.
Fortunately, by now, you know better than to spend a lot of money on things you don’t actually need.
Another good thing is that you are still on campus, and you are still in the process of growing. So, you might still get away with dressing how you like while attending classes.
Learning about things like investing, how credit cards work, or how to manage your finances or debts also becomes very important at this point.
3. You Can’t Spend All Your Time On Facebook/Instagram
You are no longer as excited about seeing funny posts on social media. This time, what truly excites you is searching for job openings on LinkedIn, ensuring you have an updated resume.
Seeing what someone had for lunch is no longer the most exciting thing to you. It suddenly feels like a big waste of your life.
You also have to try and make friends with your professors, as they can help you have great job references and even help you land some great opportunities after you finish college.
So, you have to seek out things like seminars, which offer a lot of knowledge about specific fields. You should also start networking to have an easier time in the job market once you complete college.
4. You Can Still Change Your Major
Okay, this is obviously a good thing. However, academic advisors will tell you that you cannot change your major at this point.
However, there will be a price to pay if you do. You might have to attend summer classes and do an extra semester to get the degree you want.
In fact, this is the time to take charge of your course selection. That means if you have a professor who is famous in their field, this is the time to make sure you at least learn something from them.
This is a great time to ensure you get the best the college has to offer in your areas of interest. So, don’t leave everything in the hands of your advisors.
You should also be working on your research interests.
5. The “Freshman 15” Is Still Around
Although you already had this in your freshman and sophomore years, it still persists into the junior year. That means you have no choice but to love the extra pounds.
Otherwise, you will have to eat better and exercise more.
6. Graduation Application Nightmare
As if you needed more reminders that you are on your way out, some colleges make you apply for graduation during your junior year. Many people don’t see this coming, and it’s a sobering reminder that college life is short.
Nobody feels like they are ready for the senior year until they are actually seniors and realize that everyone considers them as such.
7. Young Girls In Your Sorority Don't Respect You
Yes, you have been around for much longer, but you are still not worth anybody’s respect, including sorority girls. After all, you are not a senior, and your place in the institution is of no relevance to them.
Still, you feel old and out of place.
8. You Realize You Are Not Ready For Senior Year
As the second-semester starts, you realize that the seniors are on their way out. It also becomes apparent that you don’t have the emotional stability to handle being a senior.
These are your friends, and they are focused on attending big job interviews. In short, you have to think about what’s coming next, such as being a graduate student or joining a particular business area or industry.
At this point, everyone expects that you have figured out what to do with your life. In fact, they expect you to be pursuing it through internships.
Then there is the shock of learning that some internships need you to have internship experience to qualify.
10. Going Out Is A Miracle
In your junior year, an “easy week” consists of two tests. That’s when you can get a chance to go out for some fun.
However, keep in mind that this will get your friends worried as they expect you to be more focused on your schoolwork or internships.
As long as you can manage your time properly and get your priorities right, then you can still have some fun such as going out with friends, or even alone if your friends are too caught up with the hectic challenges of being a junior in college.
11. The Onset Of Senioritis
As you become a senior, this condition gets worse. Unfortunately, you are never ready for it when it comes.
12. If You Are Not In A Serious Relationship, You’ll Feel Bad
If you are still hooking up or single in junior year, it will be rough for you. You will start wondering what’s wrong with you because all your friends seem to be in serious relationships.
Fortunately, once you figure out that being in a serious relationship at this age is not a requirement, you will be fine. You can take this time trying to figure yourself out.
13. Wine Actually Feels Great
We are not talking about Moscato, but the kind of wine your parents seem to like. It'll finally make sense.
Think You’re Ready?
If you are just about to get into your junior year, this bit of news might tempt you to fail a unit or so to remain in your sophomore year.
However, know that this is a rite of passage, and everyone has to go through it. It will not be easy, but it’s an important reality check that makes you realize you are entering adulthood.
You can also think of being a junior as being the awkward middle child. However, remember that this is still college, which means nothing can be that hard if you try a little harder.