6 Struggles During Your Junior Year of College

When I first started my junior year of college, I was prepared for many new challenges and opportunities that came with finally being an upperclassman. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that, well, junior year actually kind of sucks. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of perks that come with this age, but the struggles in between are what sometimes make me wish I could go back to my simple life as a freshman. So before we can get excited to start our senior year this fall… we must all realize (and finally accept) the 6 struggles we face in our junior year of college.


1. Not being 21

The absolute deal breaker of how much fun you will have your junior year all depends on when you turn 21. For those of us who have late birthdays (and somewhat resent our parents because of it) are left with only three options when it comes to going out. You could still go to fraternities, but by your junior year, you will start to see more faces of people you don’t know than do. The other option could always be to use a fake ID, but that can leave you getting denied at Daddios or hiding from the cops in Chaser’s bathroom. The last option could be going to an apartment party, where you’ll just be surrounded by more miserable 20-year-olds who wish they were 21.   

2. That sad moment you realize you might be a 5th year

Junior year is filled with many academic wake up calls, such as the possibility of being a 5th year student. Although it has become more common, it is a big deal that catches you completely off guard. You tell yourself you’ll have to be a full time student over summer and taking 18 credit hours each semester hoping to graduate on time. Or what usually just happens, you accept your fate and be proud of the victory lap you’ll be taking.

3. Everyone is getting into a Relationship

"All my single ladies, now put your hands up"… *no hands go up*

But seriously, junior year is better known as “Cuff Season”, meaning all of a sudden every girl is basically wifed up. Remember that one guy you liked your freshman year but he never dated you because he claimed he didn’t want a relationship? Well now he’s in one. And you want to know why? It’s because it just HAPPENS your junior year. Suddenly everyone is becoming Facebook official and you start hearing less and less from your friends that are in relationships. Even though it is obvious they are all brainwashed into thinking love actually exists, you recognize that junior year is definitely not the single year.

4. Actually having to try in your classes

When you take notes, you write down what the instructor is saying, not just what a slide says. When you have a test coming up, you start studying days ahead, not the night before. And when the instructor assigns reading, you actually read. Those are just a few of many habits that start to change once you begin your junior year classes. It’s because they actually matter! They get harder and teachers expect more from you because you’re in 200 or 300 level classes. But come on now, did we really think every class would be as easy as biology with Tak Cheung or geology with Bill Shields?

5. Paying for EVERYTHING

I never understood what it was like to actually be a “poor college” student until my junior year. Rent, groceries, and going downtown will drain your wallet in ways you’ve never seen before. You start paying for your bus downtown in change and begin begging any freshman to swipe you into Watterson because you can’t afford groceries at the moment. Junior year is also a great time to invest in a credit card so you can set side the sad truth of your debt… temporarily.

6. Not being in enough RSO’s

If I were to ask any junior one thing they regret now, it would be not getting involved on campus earlier. Of course you can still join, but the opportunities for leadership positions or long-term commitments are not always likely because of how soon you’ll be graduating. This then may make juniors feel pressure to join any club they see, even if it’s one they’re not really interested in. It also leaves you staring blankly at your resume, possibly wanting to cry.


There are many other struggles I didn’t touch on because I didn’t want to make anyone too depressed. Even though your junior year is full of many hardships and changes, it is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself! Take these struggles and learn from them so you can finish your four (or five) years at college with no regrets.