Point: Two cycles is too long

Ryan Havens, Staff Writer

Oh no. The first week of my new AP and I already see myself failing. I can’t afford a grade like that on my transcript. The work is overloading me and I’m stressing myself out. I’m finding it hard to focus on other classes because this class is taking up all my time and effort. I’m going to drop. I can’t take it. But wait—I have to stay until the second cycle is through before I can change my mind about this class?”

For many students at Schreiber, the new guidance policy that restricts students’ ability to drop courses early on in the school year has led to much frustration and confusion.

The intention was to take pressure off students, but that’s not what happened,” said senior Josh Friedman.

Theoretically, the policy should give students more time to think about dropping a class.

They’ll have more time to consider their options or talk to a guidance counselor,” said Assistant Principal Mr. Craig Weiss.

This outlook is reasonable, and could have given a few students the motivation to remain in a class they would have initially dropped.

In theory, a few more days would give the student an incentive to try harder and hopefully improve their performance in the class. However, the policy has fallen short of its goal.

One major failure of the policy is its assumption that students would still be motivated to continue on in a class they know they will drop.

In reality, this backfires because students feel like they are wasting their time. Often, when a student decides that they want to drop a class, they tend to have ambilvalence towards that class.

This snowballs into more stress on students as they feel unduly forced to stay in a class.

Their moral compasses swing between doing no work in a class and trying fruitlessly to complete difficult assignments that take up time better used.

Ultimately, the aggregation of conflicting emotions can leak into other classes and affect performance there.

If you know you’re going to drop, you’re not going to try,” said senior Tom Bruck. “You’ll just end up falling behind in the class you drop into.”

Preventing students from dropping classes for two cycles essentially results in students falling behind on work in the classes they plan to switch into.

For example, in 10th grade, I began the year taking a course in photography. The first few classes made me realize that the subject was not something I was at all interested in.

A friend recommended that I take Business Law, an elective I had previously overlooked. I quickly informed my guidance counselor that I would be dropping my photography class and adding Business Law.

Even though it was only a week into the school year, I was far behind on the material, and it was difficult to make up for lost time.

This new policy has only exacerbated this loss of class time for students who had to wait to switch their courses.

By the last week of September, nearly all classes have completed a full unit, taken a test, or been assigned a project. This amounts for an unneccessary amount of stress for students looking to start the school year on a high note.

Twelve school days pass before students even get the opportunity to move into a different class. Knowing that you’re falling behind on work in a class you are not yet in does little to help you acclimate to the new school year.

While well-intentioned, the policy seems to have done little to help the student body.

Even if statistics were to show a decrease in total dropped classes this year, what good does that accomplish? Would we, as a whole, be better off because a handful of students chose not to drop their classes?

Comparatively, what other students have to endure does not make up for it. It is not fair for students to have to stay in classes for the required two cycles before dropping.

In the long run, the policy will end up doing more harm than good.