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Please don’t judge my academic decisions

Abby Wright, Staff Writer

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Course selections for next year are in full swing and with that comes two main realizations: adults want me to push myself, but question my abilities and intelligence when I mention advanced classes.

It sounds twisted. It is twisted. My GPA, work ethic, general motivation, and even future career options twist themselves into a knot that pinches my stomach into a nervous wreck. Those four things apparently determine whether or not I can handle honors classes. GPAs draw the line between success and failure– a 4.0 earns you a gold star, but a 3.0 sends you to the corner for a timeout where you reflect on your choices. Your work ethic plays a part in if you’re in AP U.S. History or U.S. History; your motivation for a rigorous course like that is the difference between an A or a B.

Whenever I mention taking APUSH to an adult, I can see the gears turning in their brains by the looks on their faces. They ponder whether or not I, a lazy teenager who gets average grades, can handle a college class as a 15-year-old. The gear of pondering connects to the gear of judgment: other smarter kids will excel in class like that, but I can’t. I’m not able to because I don’t have a 4.0 at this time.

Adults don’t think I am ready for APUSH. But, when I say I’m taking chem 210– the lower level of chemistry– the questioning goes from “you’re not capable of succeeding in APUSH” to “why aren’t you pushing yourself in the harder chemistry class?” and it’s infuriating. It’s impossible for me to win. People want me to take chem 215 but can’t see me succeeding in APUSH. I don’t get it.

I don’t want to be judged by my academic choices anymore. I have my strengths and weaknesses in school, just like everyone else. It’s why advanced courses exist. I’ve been in an honors English class since fifth grade because I am passionate about the subject, and it’s so fun to do what I love. I plan on taking APUSH next year for an extra challenge, but also because the subject is interesting to me. I’m taking chem 210 because I hate science and math, and those are the essences of chemistry.

Why would I set myself up to fail? Why would I take a really difficult class when I’m not really passionate about it? Why would adults think that they know what is best for me?

I still have three years left of high school. I don’t want to go through the same callous cycle every time course selections roll around again. The only person who truly knows what is best for me is’ me. I will accept guidance on any major decisions and I understand that some adults really just want to help, but the judgments and harsh opinions are too much.

Please, don’t question my academic decisions. In the end, I’ll turn out just fine even if I did take a lower level of chemistry my sophomore year. Maybe APUSH will break me and ruin my GPA even further, but maybe I’ll work hard, earn an A, and continue with advanced social studies classes. I really don’t know how my sophomore year will turn out, but I am willing to work hard and ignore anyone who doubts my intelligence.

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