As scheduling for the next school year begins, the stress of choosing ideal courses is becoming a greater burden. Between AP and honors courses, fun electives, and credit requirements, scheduling each year can be frustrating. These are big decisions, and at times, the pressure to balance our own desires with what colleges and universities may favor can be immense. However, amongst all of the challenging classes that students are required to choose from, there is one class (or lack of one) that is popular among students, especially upperclassmen. The golden, glorious, and luxurious off period: the most tempting course to request. To have an off period or not, that is the question.
One of the greatest aspects of an off period is it’s wonderful gift of time. For those who dedicate a lot of energy and commitment to extracurriculars, the extra time granted by an off period can be life-saving, grade-saving, and stress-saving. Students enrolled in an overload of rigorous courses can also use a break after a long school day, and an extra hour and a half can prove crucial for completing homework assignments. Sometimes, nap-time is just essential for the sanity of a high school student. An off period can also provide the opportunity for a valuable job experience.
Off periods tend to be the most popular among senior students. After three long years, and most A to G requirements fulfilled, an off period is just too tempting to resist. It’s understandable that for seniors, time is key. Every student wants to make lasting memories, explore, experience youth, and live. After all, it’s the fourth and final year of the high school experience before everyone begins to part, heading toward different routes and new lives. Also, let’s face it, every junior and senior-to-be looks forward to the leisure of so-called “senioritis”.
However, there is one drawback that might be taken into consideration when selecting an off period. Will an off period make students look bad to colleges and universities that they are applying to? The worry that admissions may view an off period as a sign of laziness and lack of true commitment to education has the possibility to be a deal-breaking issue. Due to this conflict, as of next year, the school has made it a requirement for all students to take at least six classes. This new rule is a very controversial one amongst the student body, as students desiring a free period must now enroll in an extra course. One potential solution to this new enforcement is to request a zero period. In this way, a student can take six classes, and still be permitted to leave at noon. A major flaw, although this may not be an issue for the early birds on campus, is the sacrifice morning sleep. Taking a zero period class requires students to arrive at school at __AM. For those of us who don’t always look forward to greeting dark skies outside our windows, already struggle to get up on regular time, and overall require as many hours of sleep possible… Well, this plan just may not be worth the sacrifice for the typical morning grouch.
Although high school scheduling can code for stressful measures and frustrating choices, it is important for a student to be confident in their final selection. Once a decision is made, there is no way of surely knowing how the outcome of your experience would have differed, or predicting how the alternate routes could have affected your life. The best action a student can take is to find their personal balance among their courses, and to pursue their own passions and definition of success.