Students tackle junior year stress


Alice Petty

Junior Iris Pflum tackles the tough homework load that comes with Junior year.

Nate Schweitzer, Staff Writer

Many students in the Benilde-St. Margaret’s community can agree with the statement that junior year is the toughest year. At BSM in particular, this is the year where students have a lot more opportunities within Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Students also start preparing for standardized tests (ACT, SAT, PSAT) that play a big factor in getting into college. In addition, they still have their personal life and activities to focus on, too. 

Two juniors, Charlie Damberg and Oriana Sampson, have a heavy workload with both of them taking four AP classes. Both students take AP Composition, AP Chemistry, and AP US History, while Damberg takes AP Calculus BC, and Sampson takes AP BioMed II on top of being enrolled in math classes at the University of Minnesota. The two have also spent some of their time studying for the ACT or PSAT, which they plan to take in the coming future.

Damberg took two AP classes in his sophomore year, so he has an idea of the work that comes with them, as well as how to handle them. Some of his current AP classes have been a lot of work, but he is also excited for the challenge and looks forward to expanding his knowledge. “So far, chemistry has been pretty tough, but I kind of expected that since it’s my first year of chemistry, but I’ve definitely learned the most in Comp,” Damberg said.

Sampson, who has a heavy workload, really focuses on her time management. Aside from school, she plays the piano and violin, participates in a treble choir located in Bloomington, volunteers at Methodist Hospital and has an internship at the Twin Cities Film Festival. She likes to prioritize assignments that are most important first, then work her way down. She also realized that sleep plays a big factor in how she performs throughout the day, so she strives to get at least 8 hours of sleep on most nights. “Getting enough sleep on most days allows me to learn and focus better,” Sampson said.

Getting enough sleep on most days allows me to learn and focus better.”

— Oriana Sampson

His AP classes and ACT studying take up much of his time at night on top of hockey, baseball, and other various BSM clubs. To handle all these activities, he has established a routine that he follows on a nightly basis. “I try to finish as much of my homework right after school and usually will get done around 6-8 pm, and then I get to school early in the morning to study for tests or finish leftover homework,” Damberg said.

Sampson has already taken the ACT and is pleased with her outcome, so she doesn’t plan on taking it again. She has now shifted her focus on preparing for the upcoming PSAT, that all juniors take, which involves the chance to be granted scholarships for college and to become a National Merit Scholar. “Instead of prepping for the ACT, I prep for the PSAT as there is scholarship money on the line and who doesn’t love free money,” Sampson said.

Both Damberg and Sampson have college visits planned for the future as they look to find a fit for them. Sampson plans to work hard through her classes this year to shrink down her options for a possible major in college. For these juniors, it is just the start of the long process of college searches. “I hope to have a list of colleges that may be the right fit for me,” Sampson said.