Many students returned to school this fall with high expectations set for themselves to succeed in their classes. The start of school gives students a variety of different feelings, ranging from a rush of adrenaline to summer withdrawal from such a huge lifestyle change.
While some students may enjoy catching up with peers and getting back into the groove of things, many students’ first steps into the school year can become a huge whirlwind of stress and responsibilities. Honors and Advanced Placement classes play the main role in this stress.
“Once school started up, I had to deal with practices everyday and three games a week and sometimes even four, and with all the work from school coming in, it was hard especially on away games when we would be coming back around eight or nine,” said sophomore Jack Cruz.
The number of students enrolling in Advanced Placement classes has increased majorly over the years.
As reported on MLive, “In fall 2008, KPS increased AP enrollment by more than 100 students, to 402, and the numbers have been on a steep upward trajectory ever since. Now KPS has released its latest report on AP participation. It indicates more than 850 students at Loy Norrix and Kalamazoo Central high schools are taking AP courses this fall, almost triple the number four years ago and up 20 percent from fall 2010. That’s more than a quarter of the district’s total enrollment at the two high schools”.
These students love to challenge themselves by signing up for prestigious courses and involving themselves in multiple extra-curricular activities, both for pure enjoyment and to make a difference in the community.
However, when the first day of the new school year rolled around, some of these ambitious learners soon started to re-think and even regret the classes that they gladly signed themselves up for last spring. The overwhelming amount of work and commitments can lead students to have a negative mindset from the get-go. The main factor that is the trigger for all of these characteristics? Stress.
Students who voluntarily enroll in Advanced Placement (AP), Honors, Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC), Academically Talented Youth Program (ATYP) and even Early Middle College (EMC) classes experience different levels of stress throughout the school year. These students face new challenges daily, including managing time spent on homework and studying, which in turn can absorb their personal life at an increased rate. Some students end up not getting enough sleep due to their abundance of homework. Having such a challenging schedule can have a huge impact on students mentally and physically.
Junior Ismael Enriques is enrolled in Honors Chemistry, Physics, AP Biology and Psychology.
“It is exhausting to have such a hard schedule. I just want to go to sleep,” said Enriques. “I just wish I had easier classes. My sleep schedule is really messed up because I’m used to staying up late. I feel like there is too much stress on my shoulders.”
Many students sign up for more prestigious classes purely to brag about their achievements to their friends, teachers and especially parents.
“Being in APUSH is really fulfilling. I get to push myself and learn tougher material. Another thing that is great about AP is it teaches you good time management skills, note- taking and studying skills,” said sophomore Emma Hilgart-Griff.
Nevertheless, the huge transition from summer to a stressful school life takes a heavy toll on students, especially those in rigorous courses.
Most students come back to the usual, review for the first half of the class from the previous year, signing syllabi, discussing rules and classroom guidelines, and rushing to get to their new classes for the first few weeks. However, for advanced students, they come back to school ready to learn. They walk into school with no doubt that they will be getting straight to work. Also, all AP students were mandated to complete summer assignments this year, and most assignments were due on the first day.
“There’s no time for anything. I am up for the challenge because it will look good on my transcript and for college and stuff like that, so I think it’s worth it in the long run,” said junior Ella Klute, who is enrolled in Sociology and American History at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
The majority of these students with high expectations for themselves feel as if their classes are difficult and time-consuming. Nevertheless, they are still able to manage their grades and keep up with demanding extra-curricular activities, such as sports and rehearsals.
“I’m definitely not getting enough sleep already. Not really a great transition for me. I don’t really have any time to do my homework after soccer,” said sophomore Emma Scheele, who is enrolled in AP U.S. History.
There are so many students at Loy Norrix who are always up for new challenges who don’t always have the best transition from a summer full of sleeping-in and lounging all day, with the occasional extra-curricular, to a full-blown hectic school schedule. School takes a heavy toll on the lives of teenagers within the short time span of the end of summer.
However, students at Loy Norrix are always ready to tackle the new and upcoming challenges that they get faced with, voluntarily or obligatory. Some simple tips to help manage the stress of school is to prioritize, organize, study with friends or study groups and listening to music.