Taking Difficult Classes in a “Blow Off” Year


Christina Trotta

Seniors Jarrett Geddes and Emily McLaughlin discuss their opinions of senior-level courses.

Christina Trotta, Features Editor

   Senior year is often described as an easy school year. Compared to junior year, when students are taking classes to impress colleges, senior year does not matter as much. Many students consider it a “blow off” year, to take easy classes and scale down their workload.

   However, many students do not think the same way. Various students continue to work hard during their final year. 

   Jarrett Geddes ‘21 is one of these students, currently taking four AP classes. He describes his hardest classes, which are courses that are generally regarded as the most difficult classes one can take in the district. “AP [Calculus] BC and AP Physics C at [the MST program at] Pankow,” Commented Geddes. 

   I also spoke to Emily McLaughlin ‘21, who has a contrasting perspective compared to Geddes. “My hardest class is AP Statistics,” shared McLaughlin. 

   McLaughlin is also an extremely intelligent and hardworking student, but felt differently about taking a rigorous course load this year.

   McLaughlin explained how the workload of MST is taxing and takes a significant amount of time. After school, you would most likely find an MST student in their room doing homework for hours on end. “I took MST all of high school, and last year I literally hated it… After school I did nothing besides study and do homework.” stated McLaughlin. 

   McLaughlin further explains that she wanted to enjoy what was left of her high school years.

 “Before I go to college I wanted to have fun with my friends and not be so stressed. I didn’t take complete blow off classes. I took easier ones so that I didn’t have a ton of homework afterschool, and I could actually hang out with my friends.” 

   Students take different classes for different reasons. Geddes explains, “I knew that Calc would prepare me the most for college and I have always been part of the highest and most challenged group in school, and I wanted to be a part of [that] group again. Also, I believe that the people in that class learn the most about math.” 

   Both Geddes and McLaughlin commented on the gradual increase of difficulty of classes as high school progresses. Geddes discussed the increase in taking AP classes as you progress, commenting on the commonality of taking one or two APs sophomore year, and three junior and senior year. These types of difficult classes directly affect what your high school life will look like. 

   The classes you take in high school not only affect your high school career, but also your college choices. I asked both students whether the classes they have chosen will be useful in the future. 

   Geddes stated that his courses will help him with his college career. “Physics is not going to be applicable to whatever I go into most likely, because I’m planning on going into the medical field. But Calc BC might be applicable to my requirements for my major in college or requirements in college in general. I think that taking Calc in high school may eliminate me from having to take math at all in college.”

   McLaughlin feels what most of the students at LCN are feeling: indecisiveness. Many other students share her viewpoint, which allows them to take a wide range of classes and test out many different courses and job fields before they decide on one that suits them.

   “I don’t really know what I want to do, so it might help, but I have no idea yet… The main reason I didn’t take MST this year was that I don’t want to do anything in [STEM]. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do now, but I didn’t want to ‘waste’ senior year on a class I won’t need later on. I don’t know if I’ll ever need AP Calc, or Physics, or Chemistry, so why take it? Why take a class I don’t even need?” 

   There are a lot of factors that influence the decision on what classes you take. For some students, it’s putting in the work for a GPA boost, and for others, it’s having more time to be with the people you are closest to. The amount of difficult courses one takes during senior year is a personal choice, and whatever route one may choose will have its advantages.