Why should you take challenging classes?

Erin Harris, Sports Editor

Going into my junior year, I had to make many hard decisions, most regarding my classes. I started by asking my teachers and my parents and then I went and asked upperclassmen. I had many choices to make based off of what I had taken during my sophomore year. 

Most of my questions were about English, Math, and Social Studies. I already knew what I was taking for a language and what science I was taking. My other core subjects were harder to decide because there were many pros and cons to consider.

I ended up choosing to take AP U.S. History, AP Language and Composition, and Elementary Concepts of Calculus. I had to make these decisions based on my strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. Already knowing what I want to study in college, I knew taking AP English was the right path for me. (I also had to take AP due to taking pre-AP in my sophomore year.) I also was pretty eminent in taking AP U.S. For me, I felt that AP U.S. and AP Lang were the two classes that I liked the most and that would be the most useful for me. I could’ve taken AP Calc but I knew that math isn’t my strongest subject and I also knew that I wasn’t going to need AP Calc for what I was pursuing. So why put myself through that extra stress? 

Though when making these decisions, students have to realize that they don’t have to have a concrete idea of what they want to study in college. Taking the AP courses that are offered at our high school do a lot more than just get you ready for a future in that specific subject. 

Us students are lucky to have the wide variety of AP classes that are offered to us. Mechanicsburg offers everything from AP U.S. and AP Euro, to AP Bio and AP Chem, to even AP Art History. These classes are here for our benefit. 

Yes, it’s a good thing to have these options to explore subjects that interest us. But there is more that comes with these challenging classes. 

Principal Dave Harris mentions, “In addition to the skills and content that exist in an AP course, students are exposed to college level reading and are required to engage in a more complex analysis of ideas. “

As a student currently involved in AP classes, I have learned a set of skills that will help me as I continue to take AP courses and when I go onto college. Whether it be reading through a difficult text or studying for exams, I have developed skills that will help me as I continue my schooling. 

It’s important for students to also realize that they have to choose their classes based on their best interests. Students can’t be choosing what they want to take based on what their friends are taking. They have to prioritize and decide what is best for them. 

I’ve also come across many underclassmen asking if these AP courses are hard. Of course they’re hard! Taking AP is challenging for a reason; it’s a college level course. But this shouldn’t be how a student determines whether or not to take an AP class. Some students need that challenging factor to push them harder than what they would push themselves. 

Going through the difficult times that came with AP courses make teenagers, not only stronger students, but also stronger writers, test takers, thinkers, and conversationalists. 

Another positive to taking AP is the idea that students can earn college credit in high school. Having the opportunity to earn credit is very useful, especially for students who may have a hard time paying for college. 

Many though still have concerns. 

A further thing to think about when deciding, is time management and scheduling. Taking AP courses comes with more work and students have to realize that. Sitting down and mapping out extracurriculars may also help when deciding what classes to take. Students don’t want to pile so much on their plates that they can’t balance out their classes and their extracurriculars.

Junior, Sarah Mostofa, says, “Challenging courses, such as AP classes, can be extremely time consuming and difficult, yet they have taught me a lot of valuable information and have strengthened my work ethic. Nonetheless, sticking to a schedule and making the most out of my free time has allowed me to explore extracurricular activities, outside of academics, that I enjoy.”

Overall, taking challenging AP courses brings so many positives and opportunities to the table for high school students. Though there may be some frustrating times that come with it, the classes offer so much to the students. 

I really recommend taking AP courses for students who are driven, love to learn, and want to better themselves, and not only as a student.