How To Get the Most Out of Your Junior Year

This school year has looked quite different than others. All my classes were remote, I lived off campus, and many of my friends were not living in the Amherst area. I was still determined to make the most out of my junior year of college and come out of it with positive experiences under my belt. From my experience, junior year was when the reality of adulthood started to settle in. Suddenly the pressure was on and I had to start thinking about really big life decisions. Surviving junior year can be stressful, but here are some tips on how to get the most out of it!

  1. 1. Course Selection 

    goals, coffee, notebook

    If you have the option to, finish your hardest classes in your junior year to get them out of the way. First semester, I decided to finish up all of my core STEM classes, as well as any gen-eds I was not as excited about taking. Doing this allowed me to have a class schedule I was eager about this semester. Now for my senior year, I will be taking classes all geared towards my major that I have been excited to take since freshman year! Taking control of your course selection, continuing to challenge yourself, and enrolling in classes that will benefit you in the future are all important in your junior year.

  2. 2. Housing 

    woman using laptop in bed

    Junior year is stressful and full of lots of changes. Living in a motivating environment is vital. For me, choosing to be off campus was one of the best choices I made. Although this was not my original plan, I could not be happier with this choice and highly recommend everyone tries it if they have the option. I have learned how to sign a lease, cook for myself, and gained a whole different level of independence. Living in an apartment off campus has benefited me greatly and allowed me to learn new life skills.

  3. 3. Build Your Resume

    woman using laptop

    The pandemic made this slightly more complicated, but working on building your resume is crucial in your junior year. Getting more involved in school clubs, acquiring leadership positions, and volunteering are all ways to build your resume. Remember that everything you do as an undergraduate student is meant to better prepare you for your future.

  4. 4. Network

    women placing sticky notes on wall

    This goes along with building your resume, but networking in your field can help you make connections that could be beneficial after graduation. Making accounts on LinkedIn, Handshake, and similar platforms can help you create a business network. Participating in informational interviews, going to career fairs, or visiting your university’s career center are all great ways to build connections. This can help you further develop your skills and narrow down career path options!

  5. 5. Put Yourself First

    woman looking at her reflection in mirror

    Above all, make sure that junior year (and every year) you put yourself first. Making sure you are your number one priority is an important lesson that can mean the difference between success and failure. Balancing school and work with a healthy social life can be difficult, and taking care of yourself can slip through the cracks. Putting yourself first does not mean you are selfish; it means you are chasing your own goals.

Above all else, use your junior year to find what fuels your soul. College is all about meeting new people, gaining experience, and getting to know yourself. Use the tips above to make sure you make the most out of your year!