Stressed out by class schedule?

Our elder has ideas on how to balance college prep with a little high school fun.

Dear EWC:

Hi, I’ve never asked for advice before on a website, but I need some advice from someone other than people I know. I’m a freshman in high school and I’m currently doing my scheduling for next year; I’m a bit stressed. My family put a lot of pressure on me and I put a lot of pressure on myself to do good in school. My grades are good but I wish to do better and be successful when I’m older.

I wish to pursue a medical path in the future and want to get into a medical college. I need some advice if I should take honors anatomy and physiology or should I wait into my junior year of high school. My parents want me to, but I’m worried it would stress me out. Should I finish chemistry first as a sophomore and wait till my junior year? I need to take more AP and honor courses in high school. Should I do this all in junior year? I know I’m young and I still have three years of high school left, but I can’t help but get stressed out. I don’t want to regret anything when it’s time to graduate and I want to make my parents proud, so I don’t know what to do.

Sorry if this is long or I’m rambling. I just really need advice and I hope someone can give it to me. Thank you.

Ketchman replies:

Thank you for contacting us. I’ll try to offer some useful advice.

I recommend that you try to spread your honors classes throughout your time in high school. Packing them all into your junior year would make for a pretty stressful year. That stress would also inhibit your ability to actually learn what is being taught in those classes, as opposed to picking up just enough to pass the tests. I hope that you’re truly interested in the subjects being taught as honors classes and not taking them just to have them on your record.

High school is certainly a time of studying specific subjects as well as, for those planning to attend, preparation for university. It should also be a time of learning and polishing social skills and forming what could be life-long relationships. If you spend most of that time chasing AP and honors credits, together with the related stress, you’ll miss out on much of what should be gained from your time in high school. Have a little fun. It will help you deal with the academic pressure and make you a better student. Balance in school, as well as in life, is one of the secrets to a fulfilling existence.

Have a conversation with one of your guidance counselors about your plans for medical school and get some suggestions about the courses that would best help you get there. If you want to dig into that even further, try contacting the admissions department of a few of the medical schools you’d like to attend and get an idea from them as to what courses they would prefer their applicants to have completed. After you do that you’ll have a better idea of how to plan your high school career and, maybe, avoid taking an AP/honors class you have no interest in.

You’re at the very threshold of, what I hope will be, an exciting and fun part of your life. I hope you make the most of every minute of it with a chunk set aside for some fun and to study subjects that deeply interest you. Don’t let it all be an academic grind. Save that for med school. Please continue to reach out to us whenever you’d like a bit of advice or another opinion on almost anything. Thank you for giving me a chance to help. I hope I have.

Letter #: 454785
Category: School

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