I am not an AP farmer

I+am+not+an+AP+farmer

Two days ago, someone called me an AP farmer. I spent the rest of the day feeling attacked until I realized that I wasn’t obligated to prove myself to anyonea�� for the same reasons that I don’t fit into the “AP farmer” definition.

An AP farmer’s goal is to hoard credits to boost his or her cumulative GPA. Normally, this is done by the taking of many online classes, in and out of school hours. Farmers take obscure AP classes that most likely don’t pertain to what they’re actually interested in; this results in almost a loss of identity as they suppress their true passions in order to gather a few decimal places in their GPA.

They try to prove themselves worthy of recognition at graduation with a GPA of above a 4.0. They invest time into counting up how many AP classes they have taken (or will take). They calculate, again and again, what their final GPA will be at the end of seven semesters.

That’s not me.

I became shocked- and frankly, offended- when I was called an AP farmer. My accuser then asked me how many AP classes I’ve taken; this was my first point of defense. I didn’t know how many AP classes I had taken, and I had to count them on the spot. I have never taken an AP class just to get the GPA boost, and I can say with certainty that I’ve been genuinely interested in all the classes I’ve ever taken. For this reason, I never felt the need to tally up my classes and keep an inventory of which ones would boost my grade and which ones wouldn’t.

Yes, I’ve taken online classes. Yes, they have been AP classes. Still, this doesn’t mean that I’ve been taking them to farm credit. Two of the three online classes I’ve taken- AP World History and AP Macroeconomics- were scheduled to be in-class hours at FHC, but due to unchangeable scheduling conflicts, I was unable to take them in a face-to-face classroom. The third online class I took, AP Psychology, is not currently offered at FHC. However, I am extremely interested in psychology, and I wanted to take a class that aligned with my future career plans. Believe me, I would have chosen a face-to-face class over anything online- such is my learning style.

For me, these four years of adolescence is about finding things that I’m interested in and immersing myself wholly in classes that pertain to these subjects.”

I’ve been very lucky with the classes I’m able to take in high school, and I was able to have many open hours to take electives. Had I been an AP farmer, I would have filled these with AP classes- online or not- to boost my GPA. But that’s not the case. I’ve taken Strategic Debate, Child Psychology, Psychology, Social Psychology; in addition, band has been in my schedule every year. I can’t even begin to imagine how many AP hours those could have been filled with if it were my goal.

I believe high school is not about the final GPA. In fact, ten years from now, no one is going to be asking how many APs someone took while they were in high school. For me, these four years of adolescence are about finding things that I’m interested in and immersing myself wholly in classes that pertain to these subjects.

I’ve taken classes- like AP Chemistry- that I might never need to use in my future but completely fascinated me. I went to AP Calculus every morning, excited to learn about math; it was one of the few classes that made me so genuinely in love with math. I’m not going to be an English major, but AP Literature has taught me to appreciate every word and every punctuation mark on the pages I read.

None of these classes have been taken for the GPA boost. I don’t even know my cumulative GPA; if I were an AP farmer, that’s a number I would have been able to rattle off if someone asked me. The stigma around AP farmers is accusational and dehumanizing, and I’m hurt that someone would think I was one. In that moment, it felt as though my pure interest in learning had been undermined, but then I realized that this proved my point even more.

I don’t need to sell myself to fit- or not fit- a definition. If I can take all these classes without caring about what it did to my GPA, I can take them without worrying what others will say about it.