Brain Drain from Rigorous Classes

By: Gina Gemba — Correspondent

Sharon High School, along with many highschools nationwide, offer rigorous courses for high-achieving students. Many students of Sharon High take advantage of honors and AP classes, loading up their schedules to show colleges that they are capable of learning at an advanced level. 

During senior year, students are granted the opportunity to fill their schedules with Advanced Placement courses. Some students take as many as six to show colleges that they are up for the challenge. 

Seniors at Sharon High who have taken on the challenge of high-level courses report the stress and brain drain that accompanies their extensive workload. 

Senior Nicky Wang says that the workload he took on this year has made school hard to manage and has taken a large mental toll on him.  

“I am taking three AP classes and three honors classes this year,” said Wang. “At times, it can definitely be hard to manage, and it becomes tiring and difficult to stay motivated in all of my classes and when doing homework,” he added. 

Wang also says that it can be hard to balance his workload, as he must decide which classes require more brain power and effort. 

“Doing a lot of work just makes by brain tired—it’s a struggle to figure out which class to prioritize at times,” Wang said.

“For example, if I have multiple tests falling on the same day, there may be a test that I feel like I need to dedicate more time studying for,” said Wang. “This causes me to have to sacrifice study time for my other tests,” he added. 

Senior Amelia Scappaticci says she has also challenged herself with multiple AP courses during her senior year in order to compete with other applicants at competitive colleges. 

“I take AP classes—essentially because I have to,” said Scappaticci. “I don’t really want to take five APs, but it is what I have to do in order to be a contender at the colleges I’m applying to and to be able to compete with the other applicants who are at that level,” she added. 

Scappaticci also shared that because of the rigorous nature of the AP courses she is taking, she must adjust her normal high standards for grades.

“It has taken a lot for myself to lower my standards and be ok with not always getting an A because AP classes are so much more rigorous than the accelerated and honors classes that I have taken in the past and done well in,” said Scappaticci. 

“I am up until 1-2 every night doing work, and I wish I could have some time to relax,” added Scappaticci. “It’s sometimes a lot, but it’s just what I have to do in order to get where I want to be in the future.” 

In addition to offering a plethora of rigorous AP and honors courses, Sharon High School also offers a Virtual High School program where students can take honors and AP level classes online that are otherwise not offered at the school. 

Senior Monique Grew takes an honors-level Marketing course through the VHS program and says that the workload of the course has been difficult to keep up with in addition to her normal SHS workload.

“I took VHS because I thought there were good course offerings,” said Grew. “Although I enjoy the content of my class, I think that combined with other classes the workload is a lot—having an additional online class without zooms is a lot of stress because it is all up to you to do your work and turn it in on time,” she added. 

Another SHS senior, Kendall Fiore, takes Honors Philosophy through the VHS program and says that the nature of Virtual High School makes it easy for weeks and weeks of work to pile up which causes stress and the need for cramming.

“Because VHS is not an actual class taught by a teacher at my school, it makes it hard to discipline yourself during the free period that is designed for completing the work,” said Fiore. 

“It is easy to see the VHS block as a free period because all of the work is independent, which causes all of my assignments to pile up at the end of the week and cause me stress,” she added. 

“I usually end up having to cram in a week’s worth of work into one day which definitely takes a toll because it is so exhausting,” Fiore said.

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