Choose classes you want to take

Melanie Arthur, Staff Reporter

It is that time of year again, when students endure the hectic process of choosing their classes for the next school year. We meet with our guidance counselors, talk with friends, possibly argue with our parents, all over how to fill an eight period schedule.

But many of us are struggling already with our course selections because of these influences. How we feel about our class choices should not be controlled by an overwhelming feeling of competitiveness, peer pressure, or belief that a certain class is absolutely necessary to get into a specific college. It is more important to choose classes that are interesting and challenging.

Our core classes are a huge part of our schedules. They are the classes that require the most work and effort, and therefore are the most difficult to decide on. The selection process for core classes becomes very stressful, worrying about which courses will benefit us the most after high school and prepare us for college. We converse with friends dozens of times about what level English class we will take or if we can fit the new AP Human Geography class into our schedules; constantly on edge about making the right decision. But remember to make a good decision, and don’t worry about it being the best. This sort of stress only adds to the anxiety of shaping your schedule to meet high college standards.

In all seriousness, the classes you take in high school are only a small portion of what colleges and future employers will examine. It is equally important to focus on the activities you get involved in, internships you pursue, and what you learn from challenging experiences. It is these actions that will make up your student career and have you stand out in the future. If you take the classes that make you the happiest, there is less competition and anxiety about matching up with your peers, and you are more likely to do better in a class you will enjoy rather than one you don’t prefer taking.

Electives, usually the fun parts of our day, are tough to choose. Should you continue taking the photography class that you love or take an additional science class that will boost your weighted GPA? These sorts of questions race through students minds, but the most important thing to remember is what classes and activities make you the happiest. Even if you don’t see activities such as choir or sculpture being the basis for your career, these classes can very well turn into lasting hobbies and will still benefit you after high school.

It is also good to remember that while there may be many electives that interest you, try to not overload on the electives that compete with time for other coursework. Electives are supposed to be classes that give us new learning opportunities and ways to use our brains differently. They shouldn’t be used to avoid extra work, but they should be fun, or at least much less stressful.

Instead of trying to fit in that extra language class, maybe build from an activity like filmmaking that has sparked your interest. Look into independent study programs or internships based on a new-found interest. These sorts of opportunities allow students to continue with an interest in anything of their choosing, especially a class that Albemarle only offers for one year. These programs offer stronger insights into certain careers and will definitely show a better passion for a subject.

In the end, you never know how a class will help you down the road. If you are interested in art or drama, continue with that enthusiasm and see where it takes you. In college you might want to join clubs similar to the electives or classes you took in high school. Maybe years from now, after applying for a job or internship, you get the position because both you and your boss were in wind ensemble.

Overall, choosing the classes that you are most comfortable with will keep your schedule enjoyable for the upcoming year. If you base your schedule around the classes that you want to take, not what you ought to take, the year can be a little less stressful, but more importantly, can help you throughout college and later in life.

If you are still uncertain about the classes you signed up for next year, students still have ‘til June to switch out of/into any classes to make sure you are happiest with your schedule.