A Class Schedule Full Of AP And Honors Courses; Is It Worth The Consequences?

At Rocklin High School, The Pressure Is Real


More stories from Taylor Aubry

A Seed of Change
April 29, 2022

Free use photo taken from Wikimedia Commons

I believe a big factor in why many families live in Rocklin is because of how widely known it’s schools are. Our schools here in Rocklin are safe, students get a good education, and it’s very family friendly. We are very lucky. Parents don’t need to worry about a lot of things parents in urban cities might worry about. However, behind the face of great education lies something very alarming. The culture at Rocklin High School includes extremely high expectations, which can take a big toll on the mental health of its students. 

In my time at our school, I have noticed many things. I love our school, it’s spirit, students, and teachers. I’m thankful to be able to go to a wonderful school. However, one of the lesser things I have noticed include that the majority of students feel very strongly about maintaining high grades for fear of not going to a top college. The bulk of students who sign up for advanced classes such as AP and Honors level are typically the students who are up for challenging themselves. These students often have jobs and play sports. Now, in hand with their AP and Honors courses comes balancing difficult extracurricular schedules. Sleep and having a social life seems to almost be put on the back burner for many students. 

Now, I think it should be known that pushing your limits to achieve something you WANT to do is excellent. It can be extremely rewarding to do so. I think what a lot of students here at our school do is try to make themselves as appealing to colleges as possible. There is nothing wrong with that, until it gets to the point where stress is so overwhelming, and classes are just taken to impress elite universities and colleges. This is something that over time, I noticed myself falling into. I would hear about a class and think “that would look so good on college applications” but it would never be a class I would truly enjoy taking. 

I think what a lot of students here at our school do is try to make themselves as appealing to colleges as possible.

Nevertheless, I am sure many staff, parents, and students would argue that Rocklin High is doing an outstanding job in preparing its students for higher learning. Senior Gabby Daniel states, “At RHS, a lot of my friends and I push ourselves hard to balance our classes and extracurriculars. So many students condition themselves to believe their best isn’t enough, so they’re constantly pushing themselves harder. Rocklin High offers a wide variety of advanced courses and extracurriculars, so I feel like I need to take advantage of all the opportunities available to me.”

The question is, when does it get too far? Is sacrificing sleep, time with friends, family, and happiness truly worth it? I don’t think so. Over the past few years, our school has had numerous suicides. Whether or not those suicides relate to the pressure of college and grades, it is apparent that Rocklin High School struggles with mental health. A study conducted by Guide 2 Research found that “Seven out of ten teens in the U.S. (between 13 and 17 years old) have named anxiety or depression as a major problem among their peers in the community”. I think one thing Rocklin High could change to make a happier environment for its students is to reduce the stress. Students whose’ schedules aren’t burdened with college-level courses should not feel that they are behind, or aren’t up to par with students who have a full schedule of AP and Honors. Rather than relaying the importance of difficult classes, I believe the importance of taking courses that truly interest students should be the utmost goal of Rocklin High School.


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