Upperclassmen opt for fewer classes

November 24, 2019 — by Neeti Badve and Christine Zhang

As the noon bell rings to signal the end of fourth period, some students rush to the lunch line while others go for their cars to buy food off-campus. Senior Daniel Robinson, however, walks toward the parking lot with the intent of going home for the day — he doesn’t have a sixth-period class. 

With their credits fulfilled, dozens of upperclassmen like Robinson opt to take fewer classes to concentrate more on part-time jobs or subjects that genuinely interest them. 

According to registrar Robert Wise, 958 out of the 1,344 students at the school are taking six courses, excluding P.E., scheduling and TA classes. One hundred sixty-seven students are taking seven or more courses (including classes taken online and at colleges), and 219 students are taking fewer than six. He said upperclassmen tend to take fewer classes than underclassmen. 

Robinson is taking five classes this year after taking seven for each of his freshman, sophomore and junior years. Now, he has three periods on Red Days and two on Blue Days. 

Robinson chose to take five classes because he wanted to focus more on his part-time job. He works at Academic Coaching Works, where he helps younger students finish their schoolwork. This year, Robinson is working around 12 hours a week — three hours a day on Mondays through Thursdays. 

Robinson’s parents are supportive of his decision to reduce his courseload, but they nonetheless have occasional complaints. 

“I’m not home very much because I’m at work a lot, so my mom is annoyed when I don’t get my chores done,” Robinson said.

On a typical Blue Day, Robinson goes home for lunch after fourth period, then does homework and relaxes for a few hours. He leaves for work around 3 p.m. and returns home around 7 p.m., eating dinner and finishing up his homework for the day. 

Robinson said he sees no disadvantages for him in taking fewer classes, but he understands that others might want to take more classes if the classes interest them. 

Senior Krisha Minocha is taking four classes this year — she does not have a third, fifth or seventh period. On typical Red Days, she goes to her first period, choir, and then returns home to work on her college applications. 

Instead of taking two-semester courses for math and science at school, Minocha is taking Multivariable Calculus at West Valley College this semester and will take Physics at West Valley College in second semester. Since one-semester college courses count for a full year, Minocha feels that she is saving time. 

Minocha’s parents were supportive of her decision to take fewer classes on campus. Because Minocha is the first child in her family, her parents wanted to make sure she had enough time to complete her college applications. 

“My mom wanted to give me as much time as possible,” Minocha said. “I also took a pretty heavy load for sophomore and junior year, so I had already finished whatever I needed to finish.”

For junior Isha Garlapati, taking five classes provides extra time for her online and college-level courses. For her freshman and sophomore years, she chose to take Spanish online at Connections Academy, which gave her all the foreign language credits she needed. This year, she dropped Psychology at the school in favor of taking the same subject at West Valley College.

“I just like the West Valley class better because it fits more with my schedule,” Garlapati said. “The teacher is really good and makes all the lectures really interesting, so it makes me want to learn more about it.”

Garlapati said taking fewer classes has helped with her productivity. She also plays lacrosse for the school, so she has more time to focus on her sport with a lighter courseload. 

“With five classes, I have a lot more time to get my work done, especially because I go home at noon some days,” Garlapati said. “I’m more productive this way, and I like that the classes are my own pace.”

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