The most dreaded two weeks of my junior year career have fluttered by & away. I’m a bit nostalgic, but I sure do not want to rewind.
If you think high school students are melodramatic when they groan and moan over AP season, you’re exactly correct. However, being part of the crowd, I must say that the exaggeration does reflect elements of truth.
“Why do you take so many APs?” is the question I get quite often.
Well first, I only took 3 AP classes/tests this year, so it’s not the stereotypical 6 or 7 (really though, very few – if any – schools even offer that many AP classes to juniors).
Anyway, my generic answer to the question is: college credit. AP tests are $92 each but if you pass them, you pass out on a college GE class, which saves money in the long run. And, the quicker you get sophomore standing in college, the quicker you can graduate. With higher education being so expensive nowadays, APs are a smart route.
Another main reason to take APs are GPA boosts. An A in an AP class is worth 5 points, rather than the usual 4, which is why people are able to achieve GPAs over 4.0.
But behind the practical and superficial reasons I give out lies the sort-of ugly truth: Pride.
For as long as I remember, being smart was my characteristic. I think that there’s a part of me now that craves it – being on top and ahead of the game. That’s why it’s so important that I get accepted into the highest placing classes (we have to test into APs at my school), that I score high, and that I pass the AP exams at the end of the year (hopefully with 5s).
And the scariest part is, I am insecure. I am constantly frightened that I won’t do well or that I won’t do as well as I have before. On one hand, it’s great, because I’m always seeking to better myself. But on the other hand, it’s not, because every success I experience is another addition to the burden I carry. The burden of being myself. People are constantly praising me for my hard work and intelligence, but what they don’t know is that though their lauding relieves me, it also adds to my burden.
The only thing worse than being compared to someone else is being compared to yourself. And that’s why (in part) I try so hard. Because I don’t want to be the girl that used to be smart or was once so bright and achieved so much. I want to be in the present, forever. And so, though my past exerts pressure on me, it also propels me forward. I’ve never bought the (what I called) BS that “pressure can be good or bad”, but I’ve recently started reconsidering. I’m no physics nerd, but it’s basic knowledge that pressure can come from various directions. It can push you down from above, but can also push you forward from behind. Do I get a say? Because if I do, I choose forward.
And though some may say that pressure of all sorts is not positive, I’m deciding to trust that I can use pressure to better myself and achieve greater things.
Being the best will always be my aspiration. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or not.