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Melissa’s review of her junior year classes

This year I took two AP classes, three honors classes, and two electives, one of which was a zero period. After having almost completed all of these courses, I wanted to share my honest opinion on each of them and tell you if taking all of these classes was worth it in the end. 

For my math class, I chose AP Calculus AB. Since I took Integrated 3A in my sophomore year, this class choice was pretty obvious. While I generally enjoy math and have typically found it easy, this is definitely the hardest math class I have ever taken; this is the first time I have actually had to study and take extra time to understand the material. Even though the class is difficult, I enjoy that it is mostly based on independent work. The teacher teaches a lesson at the beginning of class, and the rest of the class time is spent doing practice problems individually, which I found to be helpful. Also, the homework is mostly taking notes, which is really beneficial in better understanding what was taught in class. However, I did find that the resources provided were not enough to fully understand the material and I required the help of other resources, like my peers and educational websites such as Khan Academy. The class on its own did not help me be ready for the AP test, but the combination of both in-class and external resources was definitely enough. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who has typically found math easy and is looking for something more challenging. However, if you find math difficult or you don’t really need it for the career you want to pursue, I would probably recommend that you do not take this class. 

I decided to take Honors Afrocentric English and History, and it was honestly the best decision I made out of all the classes that I picked. I have never been the biggest fan of history, but for the first time, I was actually super interested in what I was learning. Both the English and history class have taught me some of the most interesting things I have learned out of all my classes. It is so refreshing to finally be learning familiar material but from a completely different perspective. One downside is that not everyone can be in Afro, you have to complete an entrance exam. Another possible downside is that both classes require a lot more writing than is usually needed for other classes. However, I enjoyed this because my writing has improved so much. I can now write a high-scoring essay, which is sometimes around three or four pages long, in under 40 minutes. If you don’t like writing, maybe don’t take this class, but you should still think about it because taking it could change your mind and help you improve. 

Science is optional for most juniors, but I decided to take AP Environmental Science regardless. This class definitely has a reputation for being an “easy AP”, and while I somewhat agree, I also disagree. Though a lot of the material is basically common sense, there was some of it that can be more difficult to understand. Although it is an AP class, the workload is definitely manageable. Most of it is classwork, and the only thing that takes time at home is the occasional project. However, for most of the projects we do, we are given a good amount of class time to work on them. This class alone made me feel very prepared for the AP test with minimal studying. Overall, I would recommend this class to almost anyone because it has interesting material and is not too difficult. 

For my language, I decided to take Honors Spanish 4. As someone who is already fluent in French, I’ve always found Spanish to be an easy class, and I think that as long as you paid attention in the first three years of Spanish, it should still be fairly easy. Aside from being a fairly easy class, it is also a really fun class. The learning isn’t just focused on language, but also culture; we learn different dances and songs, and try some foods, which makes the learning experience super enjoyable. It is just a really fun class in general, and there is never a boring day in this class. 

For one of my electives, I obviously chose Journalism, which I have been taking for almost two years now. Overall, I would really recommend it: working on the school newspaper has made me feel so much more knowledgeable about everything going on both on campus and off. I really enjoy the class, but if you don’t like writing, it definitely would not be the best fit for you. One of my only complaints is that it is only offered during zero period so it can get a little exhausting having to wake up early every day. However, I have been able to adjust, and I like that, as a junior who can’t get a parking spot, I am able to find somewhere to park that is pretty close to the school. Additionally, it is nice to be able to have space freed up during the regular school day if you want to take an additional elective. 

The other elective that I am taking is Marketing Economics. In all honesty, I didn’t really plan to take marketing—it was my third backup on my curse request sheet. However, I am not that upset about having taken the class. Though I am not super interested in the material, I think it is a good class for anyone pursuing a career in marketing, business, etc. An advantage of this class is that, aside from a couple of projects, the workload is pretty light. Most of the work is work that you can usually get done during the class period, which saves more homework time for other classes. Another positive to taking this class is that you get college credit from Chabot College. Altogether, I would recommend this class for anyone who needs to get their CTE credit but doesn’t want too much extra work. 

As you can probably tell, I somewhat enjoyed all of the classes I took in my Junior year. I think that the combination of all of these was honestly pretty difficult to manage. If you are thinking of taking any of these classes, I would definitely think you are making the right choice, but if you are planning on taking all of them, or having a schedule similar to mine, I would make sure you are ready to take on the pressure and workload of it. If you manage your time correctly, I definitely think it is doable, but it could very possibly take a toll on you mentally.