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Sophomore Stress: Scheduling for NASH

Just halfway through the third nine weeks, sophomores are tasked with planning out their last years at North Allegheny before moving onto the next chapters of their lives.

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The daunting selection of elective courses from which students must choose as they plan for NASH.

The daunting selection of elective courses from which students must choose as they plan for NASH.

Nate Stetson

Nate Stetson

The daunting selection of elective courses from which students must choose as they plan for NASH.

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AP Chemistry. Game Development. Advanced Media Production. AP Calculus AB, or rather AP Calculus BC. Creative Writing. Photography. AP Psychology.

This is just a sampling of the many course options that sophomores must choose from as they look to North Allegheny Senior High School (NASH) with great excitement, as well as fear. Excitement for the opportunities that lie ahead but fear of the increasing workload, the increasing number of steps, and the decreasing number of windows!

Although the ninety-nine page Program of Studies is daunting, the plethora of courses that North Allegheny (NA) offers students provides them with the opportunity to explore different interests and maybe even discover a possible career path.

While this aspect of the scheduling process can be exciting, the looming questions of “What career do you want to pursue?” or “What college do you hope to attend?” make the scheduling process stressful too!

Did You find the scheduling process to be stressful?

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Sophomore Skylar Rogers says, “For me, the most stressful part about scheduling courses is not having any space for elective classes! I want to do theater classes, art classes, music classes, honors physical education, and extra science classes! What’s bad about it is that there isn’t enough time in the day to take all of them. There’s so much pressure on students this year to know where you want to go to college and for what profession. I’m not sure which classes to take because I cannot answer that question. I usually do a music class and an art class. I enjoy doing them, but I’d like the chance to try something else as well!”

Along with offering a wide range of elective and standard core academic classes, NA also offers many Advanced Placement (AP) and College in High School (CHS) courses that provide students with a college-level learning experience.

While taking these AP, CHS, and honors courses during one’s senior, junior, or even sophomore year is no simple feat, college credits can be earned through schools such as the University of Pittsburgh, La Roche College, and Carlow University which contribute to an impressive collegiate transcript. Although these courses do not have to be taken for college credit, successful completion of the course can equate to three potential collegiate credits.

All of these advanced opportunities, while beneficial, do come with an unwanted side-effect, stress. The competitive environment of NA often leads students to question whether or not they are taking enough challenging courses or participating in enough extracurricular activities.

It is important to stay focused on courses that suit your interests and possible career path. In the end, everybody ends up where they are supposed to be.”

— Mr. Butler

“I definitely feel pressure from classmates to take advanced classes. I think people frame it like-you won’t get into college without taking six AP classes junior year. But, no matter what classes we take, those who want to/have the means to go to college will, even if they don’t take lots of advanced classes. I think taking a few academic classes is needed to keep workloads manageable,” says sophomore Mary Haddad.

For students who already have their dream career in mind, an advantageous opportunity that NA offers students is the A.W. Beattie Career Center (Beattie), which provides 10th, 11th, and 12th graders with a chance to experience a work environment before completing high school.

A half day program, Beattie students attend NA in the morning and Beattie in the afternoon, where they participate in a career-based course of their choice such as Advanced Computer Programming, Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, Sports Medicine, or Pharmacy Operations. Through the successful completion of their Beattie program, students have the opportunity to receive college credits.

Four years of a challenging curriculum can be frustrating, but many NA alumni agree that although stressful at the time, NA prepared them well for college and beyond.

According to a former NA graduate, “NA prepared me for the transition. I never believed my teachers when they told me that the material we were learning in their classes was college level, but they were 100% correct. For example, my chemistry class is easier than the Honors Chemistry course I took my sophomore year. NA definitely prepares you well for the transition into college, even if it seems scary or impossible.”

Whether taking AP, CHS, honors, academic, or A.W. Beattie classes, NA offers courses that suit a wide variety of interests, personalities, and abilities.

While the scheduling process can seem overwhelming, NAI counselor, Mr. Butler, offers this piece of advice, “Every student is unique, so it is tough to compare yourself to your peers. It is important to stay focused on courses that suit your interests and possible career path. In the end, everybody ends up where they are supposed to be.”

 

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Sophomore Stress: Scheduling for NASH