School too hard for underclassmen? It gets better

November 8, 2010 — by Albert Gu
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Senior Albert Gu

“Stop complaining; freshmen don’t have homework.”

This was probably the most common phrase said to me during my first year of high school. As a lowly freshman, whenever I heard it, I would just nod my head and keep quiet. I remember my junior and senior friends would get annoyed if I even so much as mentioned having work. Excusing myself early from Robotics to toil over something like a pop-up book in World Geography was unforgivable.

The stories from upperclassmen made me terrified at the prospect of taking classes like APUSH and AP Bio, lurking monstrosities which I would one day have to face (but thankfully not anymore). But now that I am a senior and the worst has passed, I can make my own statement: Those upperclassmen were wrong. In fact, for me, school got progressively easier year after year.

I guess the biggest improvement over the years is the nature of our work. Remember those annoying bio worksheets and outlines? That obscenely long health packet? Those coloring maps in world geo? And of course, PE. It was even worse for me. I had Mrs. Sutton for English 9, and while she was a great teacher, I still want to puke every time I see a flowery basket.
This kind of work might go well with some people, but my personal preferences involve less working and more thinking. Filling out a worksheet=bad; lying in bed studying=good. Filming a video=bad; typing an essay=good. Just kidding, essays are still annoying. But overall, I actually found the junior year workload—mainly studying for tests or sitting at the computer writing—much more comfortable for my lazy self than my freshman or sophomore year work.

There’s something else too: Your freedom goes up as you progress through high school. During my underclass years I had seven full classes (with additional West Valley and self-study courses) and a strict carpool schedule every day. Come junior year, I not only had a missing first period for maximum laziness, but could come and go from school at my leisure as well as sporadically take after-school yogurt trips. This year, although I have a 1st again, having no 6th or 7th means I can enjoy those eagerly anticipated minimum days twice a week.

So to you underclassmen, don’t panic yet. Perhaps some others won’t agree, but for me, high school has just gotten better and better.

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