Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment: Is it worth the stress?


Valerie Bond, News Editor

Firstly I would like to give props to those kids who take more than two Advanced Placement classes in the same school year– you, my friend, are insane. Committed and intelligent, but insane. Maybe this is just my lack of intelligence speaking, because some may argue that two is not really that much.

Honestly, I think that AP classes are only worth it if you know you can do well on the AP test, or if you are not taking the AP test at all and you are just in the class for the challenge. Dual Enrollment classes are a serious bang for your buck if you plan on staying in state or if the college you plan on going to will accept the credits.

Cue my mom smacking me on the back of my head.

Currently I am taking two AP classes, two Dual enrollment classes and a online honors class, and I am proud to say that I will never make that decision again. My mom says it’s good that I challenge myself and that colleges will see that I took the hardest class I was able to.

But having all these difficult classes has amped my stress level through the roof, and I get a decent amount of sleep. I can not imagine how stressed somebody would be on three to four hours of sleep.

I know someone who is planning on taking four AP classes next year and someone who plans on taking six, if that is even possible.

My question is, why do these students put themselves through hours upon hours of grueling homework day after day? Are they just better at managing stress? Or are they just smarter?

Personally I envy those who have an seemingly easy time taking all those difficult classes.

Say there is this kid with extremely good grades and he’s taking all high level classes. Lets call him Sam. Sam is constantly being talked smack about by another kid. Lets call him Dean. The most probable reason why Dean is being a jerk to Sam is because subconsciously he is able to realize that Sam will probably be able to get into Stanford and he’ll be stuck flipping burgers at the local diner.

Here is the difference between Dean and Sam; Dean did not want the stress of hard classes and Sam probably had a mother like mine who insisted that Sam take the hardest classes that he could.

Ask yourself these questions.

Do you enjoy an intellectual challenge?

Do you manage stress well?

Do you consider yourself more intelligent than the average Joe?

If you answered yes to all of these questions then congratulations you should be able to manage taking AP and dual enrollment classes.

I am not saying that just because you can not manage stress at all you should not try to challenge yourself. If everyday you do the same easy thing over and over you are not bettering yourself or advancing yourself to a better life opportunity.

As this year quickly comes to a close, more time needs to be spent weighing the pros and cons of taking the more difficult classes.

The truth is I feel like the difficult classes push you to learn more and better you for the advancement of your life and career. Learning how to manage stress is valuable tool that you will not only utilize in college but in the rest of your life.

However, taking such rigorous classes can take a toll on your grades if you are not fully understanding the class. They can also cause a great deal of stress as well as limit the amount of time available for extracurricular activities and social experiences.

The whole point of coming to school everyday is to learn something new, no matter if you only use school as a way to get your daily dose of social interaction.

So if you feel like taking classes that challenge your mind, or you like learning new things at a fast and rigorous pace than maybe you should think about taking an AP or Dual Enrollment class.