Students and staff members experience stress during course selection process

Kiara Matthews, Staff Writer

Planning a course in a school with a wide range of classes can be intimidating for many students who are trying to find the right fit. Each student has his or her own preferences for choosing potential classes.

“[I try to balance my schedule] by not taking [any] honors classes,” junior Natania Haile said. “[I think] the homework level will impact my other activities that I do.”

Students should prioritize their mental and physical health and choose classes that are not too stressful for them to handle.

“I don’t get stressed out [that much] by my classes because they are easy,” Haile said. “I get along with the teachers and like the subjects.”

However, students have varying opinions on the difficulty of classes, and what is challenging or some may seem easy for others.

“[Honors classes] are challenging, but worth it,” freshman Nicole Cummings said. “I am used to taking a lot of honors classes. I knew that honors [classes] are difficult, so I like to work my way up.”

Most students know what to expect from classes, but some may not anticipate a course to be so difficult, and this discrepancy can heavily impact performance and grades. When a student does not reach his or her potential in a class, it is stressful for both the student and teacher alike.

“When my students don’t try to progress, I am disappointed. I take it personally and I always think that I am not doing something [that I could be doing],” English teacher Nikki Lehman said. “I feel like the reason why [my students] don’t get the grade that they [desire] is my fault [for not helping them enough]. I look to myself before ever looking at them because I feel it’s my responsibility.”

Course selection is challenging for students and teachers, as well as the school counselors who facilitate the entire process..

“I think [the counselors have the most stress]. They have to perform the amazing job to schedule [about] 2,000 to 3,000 students [each year],” Lehman said. “The counselors have to talk to each and every student in order to get them situated with their students’ scheduling.”

Some students will enroll in a higher level course and not do the work or stay on task, so they go to their counselors in order to switch into a class that suits them more.

“When we meet with [a] student, [who wants to switch classes], we talk about the requirements [of a specific class] and [then we give them a recommendation based on their past classes],” counselor Michelle Pringle said.

Some students might expect to take all higher level courses and feel that having more advanced classes on their transcript will increase their chances of getting into their preferred college.

“They feel it is necessary to [get] accepted into a good college because they have influences from family, friends and pressure,” Pringle said.

Most counselors want their students to be comfortable and have fun with the classes they choose, but still be able to challenge themselves while balancing their workload and extracurriculars.

“I am a huge supporter of balance with coursework, fun activities and things that are important for students to challenge themselves appropriately,” Pringle said. “[Students should] take courses that will challenge them but not overdo what they choose; [they should] do what they are capable of doing and not what others are up to.”