Course selection results in unnecessary stress


Photo dramatization by Maria Krug '22

Students feel pressured over course selection during the months of January through March.

“You are only taking four APs?” says one student. “You weren’t recommended for AP Stat?” replies the other. “You should take at least two more APs senior year than you did junior year,” someone adds. These are common interactions between Staples students once course selection starts to approach.

Every year between the months of January and March, students stress about their recommendations for the following school year. From A-level to AP classes, students discuss and compare their potential schedules amongst each other, flooding the halls with conversations as to who is taking harder classes and more vigorous workloads.

Alongside all the homework we are already being given, we also need to think about the classes we want to take the following year. And it seems like for the past three months, that’s all students are thinking about. We become socially pressured to share our class schedules, which causes students to feel inferior to others.

I was guilty of comparing classes with my friends multiple times over the past few weeks. And I must admit to having questioned if the classes I selected were good enough after comparing it with other students. 

In this case, who is to blame for this is the type of society we live in today? We feel the societal pressure to fit into a certain standard of perfection: perfect grades, perfect GPAs and perfect classes. 

Once I notice that I may not be taking as many advanced classes as one of my friends, I feel overwhelmed and immediately rethink my entire schedule. And even though it is a human tendency to compare yourself to others, the comparison of classes between students can cause a great amount of stress as we feel we are not good enough.  

 In the Staples community, it all comes down to the classes we are taking: the math class we are in,  the electives we take and the number of honors classes in our schedules define students’ self-worth. 

While maintaining good grades and challenging yourself academically is crucial, students feel more and more pressure to fit a certain standard by comparing classes.

To fix the academic pressure students may feel, I suggest taking time for self-care and time to destress. It’s important to pause and from time to time, reflect and take a mental break by doing whatever you feel will benefit you. Though the pressure factor will always be present in whatever you set out to accomplish, this can help minimize it.