Overcoming the AP Hustle

Liana Sanchez


Liana Sanchez

Freshmen, Diego Jimenez, and Senior Kathleen Te.

Ethan Becerra, Kathleen Te, and Liana Sanchez

“Students must be determined, work through challenges, read independently and manage their time,” said Lori Polydoros, AP English Literature teacher.

Polydoros wants students to know that if you sign up for her Advanced Placement Literature class, it’s a commitment.

She is just one of 30 teachers on campus who teaches an AP course. Advanced Placement classes are something students see as intimidating or a challenge. Whatever the case, if you pass the class, it can boost your GPA (Grade Point Average). Most importantly, once colleges see your transcript, it showcases your individuality, willingness to challenge yourself and shows that you’re someone who wants to go to college and is prepared.

But what is the effort needed to do well in AP courses?

Freshmen, Diego Jimenez, is one of the first in his freshman class at GFHS to get the opportunity to take AP Government and AP Economics. This course is usually only offered to seniors, but the school is giving it a try to help students get ahead and give them a chance to boost their GPA even earlier.

But freshman year may be too early for a student to take an AP course.

Jimenez expressed he’s, “Kinda nervous,” and said, “that everyone has different experiences (taking AP courses).” Most students will ask their classmates or friends about their AP class experiences, trying to get a glimpse of what  they’re getting into themselves. However, it may not be an exact answer because every student is different with different studying habits.

Many students sign up for AP courses, then two, three or four weeks into the class, they are overwhelmed. This encourages the students to go back to their counselors to change their courses because students realize it’s too much work.

“Most students exaggerate on the homework given and time needed,” explained counselor, Alba Valenzuela. The counselors can’t do anything about the classes you don’t like because these classes are meant to be rigorous and challenging.

Jimenez explained that he spends, “An average of two to three hours per night.” The most difficult part for Jimenez is the, “average homework given and how sometimes it gets you emotional.”

a lot more time is required than a regular class

— Adamaris Gasca

In relation to history, AP European history is another course that is offered to dedicated students who strive for a challenge.

Sophomore, Adamaris Gasca, said, “I was not as intimidated for the class because it was a great opportunity for me to thrive.” Gasca added,  “a lot more time is required than a regular class and maybe the amount you put into two or three of your (regular) classes is the amount for AP Euro.”

For those who are interested in history, this class is an opportunity to not only learn about world history, but also to become more understanding of the events in history that greatly impacted the way we live today.

Another class that students take is AP Literature.

Polydoros expects that, “students should have academic honesty, avoid shortcuts despite how difficult their schedule is.” This class guides those who strive to find help in college and get that extra head start. But reading literature is required almost every night and it is a lot. Students are expected to read at least 30-60 minutes most nights.

And AP students need to keep studying for their AP exams that are taken towards the end of the school year in May.

In connection to English classes, AP Language and Composition improves and impacts students to become better writers and analytical readers. For Rose Mendez her challenge is, “Keeping up with the workload and not feeling discouraged when you felt like other people were smarter than you in that class.”

Former AP Language and Composition student, Diana Pintor, suggests, “to actually read the books because it helps when you’re taking tests and to do your essays on time because they give you so many that when you don’t do them, you don’t get caught up with the work.”

Helen Seigel, AP Studio Art teacher, said, “AP Art students are expected to live like an artist, and what’s amazing to me is watching students dig deep, work hard, and find their soul as young artists.”

you have to time yourself and make sure you get everything done

— Janet Flores

AP Studio Art is another college course that can help students develop in becoming better artists and many students have taken up the challenge. This class requires students to create 12 breadth art pieces and 12 concentration art pieces by the end of the school year. AP art students make art every day, at school and at home in order to get all their work done beautifully and completely.

A fellow AP Studio Art student, Janet Flores, said, “ This class is just time, because you have to time yourself and make sure you get everything done and it has to be well done, so you can’t slack off and do whatever.”

The repeating theme in all AP classes is time management. Students need to keep their assignments on track and set aside time to get their work done.

Or the fear is, they will see their counselor to change their AP course, as Valenzuela warned, the second, third or fourth week of school.