by: Lauren Pickering
Many high school students start high school with the preconceived notion that their class schedules will be crammed from freshman year until junior year so that senior year seems like a cake walk. When beginning high school, students are told that the first three years will be the most important, but that is not necessarily the truth.
Starting high school, I envisioned as a senior I would either be sleeping in or spending the early afternoons out with friends. I wanted myself to be one of those seniors, but instead I have a chaotic schedule with every class period filled and a requirement to pass each if I plan to hold a diploma with my name on it and walk across the stage in June, and all because of a slow start during my freshman and sophomore years.
Although I hope that none of my peers are in the same position I am, if you are, I am here to give some advice to make your high school experience, and especially your senior year, less stressful and more enjoyable so that you don’t have to sweat until June 11 like I am.
To help give some insight to a less stressful high school experience, I asked Ms. Cynthia Bryan, a guidance counselor at WHS, for her advice for students with academics, scheduling, and approach to school.
“Freshman and sophomore year sets up a foundation for success, sets up study habits for later, and puts less pressure on you for graduation requirements senior year," she said.
Allowing students the time to adjust to the new environment inside of a high school, Bryan commented, “There is a limit to no more than 7 credits for freshman to allow an adjustment period and to help them be less overwhelmed. We strive to have students have balance in their lives, and that's why we purposefully chose this model for 9th grade students."
During my sophomore and junior years, I can remember having numerous study halls. Thinking back on this, if I had filled my schedule with the class requirements that I’m struggling to fulfill now, I would’ve given myself the senior year I have dreamed of. But would my stress level have been higher at that time?
I continue to ask myself if I had evenly balanced my classes would my senior year still be as stressful as it is now? Would I still be adequately challenged and enjoy my courses.
To answer this question, Bryan replied “Seniors need fewer requirements typically and students need to gear their schedule towards college requirements, if that is their path. We look at graduation requirements, and work on balancing the course load over 4 years, starting freshman year.”
Most colleges see senior curriculum of equal importance as the years before that. Students that are not planning on college still have equal opportunities for learning in high school and are offered assistance from their guidance counselors with future planning.
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