Don’t register for AP classes then complain about the work

The work stacks up for students with AP classes.

Clara Laino

The work stacks up for students with AP classes.

Clara Laino

“Some days I have 6-8 hours of work to do, on top of working a part-time job,” a WO student said. According to our survey, students spend two hours per day working just for their AP classes. 75% of them think that AP classes affect their stress towards school. 

   But are all these feelings really AP classes’ fault?

   I’ve read this article about how students’ mental health is affected by the excessive workload of AP classes. 

   Mental and physical health should be every student’s priority. Each student should put it on top of their considerations, in school, sports, and the rest. 

   In particular, students should carefully measure the effort they are willing and able to put in their studies each semester when building their schedule. 

   The possibility of picking classes is the best thing that American schools allow. Each person can balance the classes they need to take in order to graduate, to reach their personal goals, to deepen the study of the electives they are passionate about, and to choose the level at which they want to study each subject. 

   Especially at West Ottawa, there are many classes and AP classes offered – help by counselors is also available to build a good plan of study. If a student thinks taking one or more AP classes would be too much for them, they don’t have to sign up for it. There are so many other options that WO offers, so it’s not hard to find something that better matches every schedule, need, and effort students are willing and able to put in, so it doesn’t affect the overall workload very much. 

   For all these reasons, blaming AP classes for students’ stress and declining mental health is simply not valid. What about the general pressure over students about getting into a good college? What about the expectations of being involved with extracurricular activities, while bouncing between school, a job on the weekends, family, and having a decent social life? 

   The only arguable case is the one in which students are forced by their parents to pick AP classes. Considering these circumstances though, is it the AP classes or the parents’ fault? 

   AP classes are created to be a challenge for students who feel like they can push themselves more, who have ambitious aims or they just want to try something harder. AP classes are an experience of what a college class is like, but this doesn’t make any less of students who just decide to take regular classes–if we’d reduce AP classes’ workload, they simply would not be AP classes anymore.

   Parents sometimes reflect on their kids’ scholastic career all the achievements they would have loved to reach when younger, the things they wish they had done, or sometimes the same path they took, not letting their kids experience their own personal decisions and mistakes. Certain classes should not be negatively impacted by the lack of good parenting of some parents.

   Students are pressured by all the expectations that crush them, not from the specific workload from one class or another. 

   Students of AP classes are masters of making sure everyone knows what classes they are taking, their GPA, and how sleep-deprived or stressed they are. Not everyone is like this, but most AP students really like to show others how miserable they are because of the outrageous amount of study they have to do for their high-level classes. 

   Again, is this AP classes’ fault or just people who want to show themselves up?

   It is even more fun when they decide to sign up for that class, while people who were forced by their parents have more right (maybe) to complain. 

   In general, even the student with the hardest schedule actually has nothing to complain about. West Ottawa warmly hosts many exchange students every year from all over the world. A quick survey among them is enough to understand how school is more challenging in other countries. 

   All of the exchange students agree that in their home countries, school is harder. In most of these countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, seminar does not exist. Therefore, students have to use their free time for homework, spending, on average, at least three hours per day only to get it done. 

   European schools show no understanding for not respecting deadlines: soph. Nina Unternahrer, from Switzerland, said “In Switzerland, if your work is not on time you get a 0. The teacher doesn’t care why or what happened for being late.”

   Regarding AP classes, soph. Franka Terhardt, from Germany, said “AP classes are like normal classes in Germany.”

   However, on average, exchange students at WO, in their countries, take 12.6 classes in a semester, and an average of 17 classes per year.

   In conclusion, we all agree that school can be challenging, everywhere in the world for everybody. It is ok to complain about being tired, and it is understandable to struggle because of school. There’s nothing or no one to blame, nothing to be ashamed of, because school is supposed to be a lesson for life, and life is not always easy. 

   But is the student’s struggle the fault of AP classes? Absolutely not.