As the hand on the clock moves to 1:45, the teacher dismisses the class and my day is over. Rather than a coveted B5, it’s a regular day. I walk to my locker at the end of the 700 hallway, pack my bag, and put on my coat. A weird feeling overcomes me.
I amble past the several underclassmen, rushing to math, and I say my goodbyes to the seniors who’re on their way to period G. It feels wrong. I check my shoulder waiting for a teacher or a dean to ask me where I’m going. No one does; I have to remind myself I’m not skipping school, but in fact, I’m allowed to leave.
I’m a good student, hardworking and involved with several extracurriculars. My schedule contains three AP’s, one honors course, and two regular classes. In order to take Early Dismissal, I dropped an elective; a subject I’m not interested in pursuing and would’ve most likely slept through.
I value my time, and I know I can do something more valuable with it than sitting, or rather sleeping, through another 70 minute class. But as I arrive home around two o’clock, the possibilities are endless. The decision for me, a focused student who values education, is not hard to make. Homework is what I set out to complete. In fact, I almost make it a game: finish my homework before three o’clock. Although I rarely win, this mindset allows me to concentrate and motivates me to complete my work. That focus would’ve surely been absent if I were still at school, forcing my eyes to stay open as I stare blankly at the board in front of me.
Seniors with Early D have several options: hang out with friends, snuggle up with Netflix, do homework or study, exercise, get a job, take a nap, etc. Every A and C day these students have to decide what to do, how to spend their time. And while some days call for Netflix and a blanket, getting a job and going to work allows teenagers to experience the world outside of the classroom. A job teaches responsibility and cooperation more realistically than the vacuum of high school. Hanging out with friends or taking a nap might feel good momentarily–or maybe you actually do need the extra sleep–but going to gym or exercising fuels a healthy lifestyle that’ll last.
Rarely, do I waste the extra 70 minutes I get every day; however, it’d be naive of me to think that all seniors with Early D treat their time like me. These extra minutes allow me the opportunity to use my time in whatever way I want. Despite still being a teenager, Early D and the responsibility that accompanies it makes me feel more like an adult.
Stay in school
I’ll be the first to admit–I’d love to get extra time in my day. Between four AP classes, sports, clubs, volunteering, and work I am easily overwhelmed and stressed out. Just having seventy extra minutes in my hectic schedule would leave time for me to do homework, work out, and study more.
But let’s be realistic here; high school seniors aren’t spending their extra seventy minutes every day working on schoolwork or exercising. Sure, some do, but I hear a lot more “I’m just going home and watch Netflix/nap/eat/hang out with friends” after F period than I do “I’m going to go exercise and do all my homework and work on college applications.” (And I get the Snapchats to prove it.)
Taking that non-core science class allows me to learn information that will at least give me an introduction to material I’ll learn in-depth later on. We’ve all experienced that relief when the teacher introduces an idea to the class that you learned in eighth grade and still remember the basic concepts of. True, it doesn’t make you a master in that topic, but it makes the information easier to remember and apply to more difficult concepts.
Even if the class doesn’t pertain to one’s future major, it exposes the student to a professional environment where he or she can practice collaborating with others. Taking a class that isn’t necessarily crucial for your future career still allows you to become a well-rounded person. Maybe I don’t need to know about the Holocaust to be a successful engineer, for example, but learning about the world I live in and its history is still important.
Seventy extra minutes every A and C day equates to over 120 more hours per school year of learning, collaborating, and participating in a classroom environment. That kind of social and educational interaction is invaluable. Taking a class that isn’t necessarily crucial for your future career still allows you to become a well-rounded person.
Additionally, Carmel’s tuition isn’t the cheapest. If I didn’t take that extra class, my family would literally be paying for me to not go to class. By taking that extra class, I’m utilizing my time and my family’s money to better myself.
I’ll admit I don’t love school all the time, but education is something I highly value, and I don’t want to take my opportunities for granted.