Required electives limit student passions

Illustration by Maeve Plunkett

Illustration by Maeve Plunkett

Savera Zulfiqar, columnist

Journalistic Writing, Debate, Painting, AP Computer Science, Principles of Engineering, Creative Writing, Drama and Yearbook are a few of the many electives offered at South. For me, some electives are my jam, while others make me feel as if I am the proverbial fish climbing a tree. Therefore, I think having to take both a fine and applied art elective can be a little bit of a conflict of interest and can diverge students from pursuing their true interests.

Being well-rounded has become super important in today’s educational society as colleges want you to be the best at everything, yet also be focused on a goal at the same time. A student should be able to explore and expand their field of interests in high school so that they can represent a more complete picture of their interests and abilities to colleges.

Most high schoolers at South have two free periods each year to take an elective or two, giving them enough slots to be able to fulfill the two elective requirements: one from fine arts and one from applied arts. Easy, right? Nope. Not exactly as easy as it sounds.

Some classes, such as Yearbook and Debate, don’t count as either an applied art or a fine art. While the classes satisfy the soul, they do not satisfy the two elective requirements.

As a result of the fine art and applied art requirements, students may be veered away from taking electives that they are interested in that do not count for either credit because they may not have time to fulfill credits otherwise. Students then cannot explore their true interests as intended.

Courses such as the STEM LC and the Academy take up an extra block and sometimes even two, leaving no time in the schedule to do electives. Classes such as AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP Biology and BC Calculus are 1.5 blocks, leaving an awkward 45 minutes of an SRT that can’t be used for another course. Coupled with a special situation like being in the Academy, a student has to then take early bird or summer classes to fulfill graduation requirements.

Although these options allow schedule- stuffed students to take electives, often they just aren’t healthy. Having to get up an hour early for early bird is time away from sleep, which for most means not enough sleep and the need for caffeine. Summer is a time for students to get a head start on other college requirements, such as ACT or SAT practice, college visits or relaxing so that they have the slightest sliver of personality left over for college essays and the rest of their lives.

Thus, the requirement should be to take any two electives at some point in the span of four years so that students have the liberty to explore all electives while being encouraged to take extra classes of their interests.