BY KARINA BLODNIEKS
I recently realized that learning can actually be a lot of fun.
Before the beginning of my junior year, I had a revelation that would change my high school experience as I knew it: my classes are for me, not for my future college. This epiphany caused me to back out of AP Chemistry – a subject I was not too fond of – and into Drawing I – a class that soon uncovered a true passion. The high achiever in me cringed at this notion, fearing my coveted class ranking would drop and my ever-inflated GPA would, inevitably, deflate, but the anxious Pinnacle enthusiast I had become breathed a sigh of relief. And so, from the farthest reaches of my heart, I will continue to yell the following statement into the vast consciousness of the Bright Students of CCHS: choose classes that you’re passionate about, and high school gets much better.
What’s evident is that we’re all working toward some definition of success, and what we see as success is alarming. To successfully analyze the minds of the CCHS student body, I did what any self-respecting 17-year-old would: I took a Twitter poll. The results were telling. Of 35 CCHS students, 54% believe a high GPA and a good class ranking define a “successful” high school experience, as opposed to gaining new, cool experiences.
It is no question that GPA is important for college admissions, but what’s equally important is experience. Faculty Focus, a website aimed at helping teachers elicit greater participation from students, finds that students are more actively engaged and able to make more meaningful contributions in classes that spark their intellectual curiosity. So, what does that mean? If you have the opportunity, take the science class that lights a fire in your mind, not the one that seems to be the “norm” for your grade level. CCHS has an array of APs and other engaging courses that ensure every student can find a class they genuinely enjoy.
Aside from useful participation, the Greater Good at Berkeley states that students feel like their work is more worthwhile when they’re passionate about the class. This makes homework more engaging, class discussions more thought-provoking, and tests less daunting.
A majority of the students I surveyed don’t believe experience defines success – to that, I only have the following to say: it is what one loves, embodies, and emanates that impacts themselves and the world around them. Being accepted into a top university means little if one does not love what they’re studying.
So, onto the practical application of this long-winded opinion piece. High school is our entry point into the world of knowledge that is out there for us, and it is worth taking a class with genuine interest behind it, even if it means dropping a coveted AP. Do not be afraid to admit, ‘yeah, I’m not great at math. I will try my hardest, but no, I don’t have to take AP Calculus.’ Do not be afraid to go off the beaten track and take classes that fill you with curiosity. Pursue the things with passion behind them, for it is the greatest indicator of happiness and purpose. Treat school as the gatekeeper of experience – we are learning, growing, and understanding together. The world has much available if we only choose to look and learn.