Students reflect on course selection

Two months into the year, students look back on class selection

By Allison Moore

Photo by Lily Hartenstein
Looking back, students can weigh the pros and cons of their course selection decisions




Freshman Eileen Hansa switched to Japanese this year after taking Spanish in middle school. “I like sushi… and my teacher is really awesome.” Hansa said. Although Hansa is glad she switched to Japanese, she was surprised by some aspects of the class. “We have to do Japanese exercises, like radio taiso, actual exercise.” Hansa said

On the other sentences freshman Haritha Muthu was surprised by how quickly her Spanish 1 class picked up. “As soon as I entered the class, the teacher started giving a lecture in Spanish without explaining anything,” Muthu said.




For sophomore Zachary Yam, physics honors was the obvious choice.“I am very enthusiastic about this subject and hoping to have a future in this industry,” Yam said. Although Yam thinks students get enough freedom in course selection, he could imagine resources that would make choosing classes easier.

“They should put at least put like one videotape of like one class online; an official class on a random day,” Hays said.

Sophomore Sonia Parikh choose regular chemistry as a balance between the other options available. “I didn’t want to deal with chem honors because I hear it’s like a really hard class, and also I’m not that intrigued into chemistry, so I wanted to take normal chem so I could take physics honors next year… [chemistry] is like more of a fun environment and I like it,” Parikh said.

Although Parikh is glad she chose chemistry, she thinks the class could be more challenging. “I think they made it seem like an easier version of chem honors, but it’s easier than I expected actually” Parikh said.

Chemistry honors sophomore Eshan Jain picked the class because of his interest in labs and experiments. Looking back, however, Jain thinks physics might have been the better choice.“If I could go back, I’d probably take physics instead, because I feel like physics would be more interesting and more life applicable,” Jain said.

Although Jain mostly knew what to predict out of this year, he was surprised by the intensity of some of his classes. “I feel like I am spending a lot more time on homework for each class then they said homework would take,” Jain said




Unlike most classes, American Studies (AMSTUD) meets daily. The class combines American history and American literature honors into one course taught by two teachers.

Junior Arjay McCandless decided to take AMSTUD because of its focus on group work and relatively manageable course load. “It’s kinda nice to have the same class every day,”  McCandless said.

Alternatively, Akhil Sanka said he chose AMSTUD because it intertwines history and literature. However, he was surprised by AMSTUD’s class dynamic.  “There really is a huge emphasis on group work that I wasn’t expecting,” Sanka said.

Junior Neeraj Senthil took AP US History (APUSH),  which is known by students at HHS for its rigorous workload, to challenge himself. “The class has been rigorous so far and the tests have been difficult, but I think it’s all part of the journey and growing as a person,” Senthil said.

However, Senthil would have liked more information about APUSH before choosing the class “The only real quantitative measure of your readiness for APUSH was the preliminary exam, but it wasn’t really reflective of people’s readiness for the class,” Senthil said.

Instead of combining literature and history with AMSTUD or focusing in-depth on history with APUSH, many students, like Jannie Zhong and Caleb Chang, opted to take American History as a stand-alone course.

“I didn’t want to take five AP tests,” Chang said. “AMSTUD has a really big classroom and I work better in smaller team environment.” “Listening to all of my friends talk about how bad APUSH is, I’m kinda glad I didn’t choose it … for me, it’s mostly harder because I do a fall sport and don’t get home until seven … even nine,” Zhong said.

According to Zhong and Chang they both anticipated a slightly easier workload in regular history, however they otherwise felt well-informed about 11th grade history options.




Senior Shae Walker said she chose British literature as her English class for a variety of reasons. “I chose Brit Lit partially because I like Shakespeare, but not a lot of the stuff we learn generally in literature classes … I didn’t exactly hear the greatest things about contemp, and myth was interesting; it just wasn’t my first choice, and I was not gonna do AP, so Brit lit seemed like the best fit,” Walker said.

Senior Ivy Janes chose contemporary literature because of the class’s emphasis on personal exploration appealed to her. “I like that contemp kinda focuses on emotions and is a very deep kind of class.” Janes said.

Senior Vicky Xu said she had trouble getting an clear idea of what AP literature would be like before she signed up for the class.“ [I] feel like that the class is pretty fickle … like a little twist to the curriculum every single year … the only people that I somewhat got an accurate description of the class from was the AMSTUD teachers, Gonzo and Clausi.” Xu said.

Although AP literature isn’t an easy, Xu explained she is gaining a lot from the class. “People get pretty ‘meh’ grades at the beginning. It’s definitely a blow on the ego, but you learn from it… I think that’s kinda the point of AP lit … It doesn’t matter about the grade, it matters what you get out of that grade.” Xu said