Life isn’t always fair. At Stuyvesant, this saying often takes the form of an imperfect schedule. Classes are cut, teachers are switched, and more often than not, you are rejected from electives you’re qualified for. So you get stuck with a crappy schedule full of teachers you don’t like and trips from the first to 10th floors and back again. Despite your pleading attempts with your guidance counselor, you’re stuck with your schedule. There is absolutely nothing you can do.
Sound like the end of the world? Well, for students who are put in this situation, it sure seems like it. However, they at least have the hope that next term—there’s a chance that things will be better. When we switch classes halfway through the year, it’s like someone has clicked Stuyvesant’s refresh button. Everything is new again. You have new subjects with new teachers, and the change is a relief from the daily routine you’ve gotten used to. Even for Advanced Placement (AP) courses, there’s really no problem with changing teachers. As a specialized class, usually only one or two highly qualified teachers can teach an AP, so you’re either going to continue with the one you have or have someone else just as skilled. You might not like all of your classes, but you deal with it. You’re only stuck with these teachers for another five months. After that, there’s change: change that we can believe in, and change that annualizing classes would take away.
Some may say that annualizing classes would simplify programming, but that isn’t really the case. Suppose core classes were locked down into your schedule during your fall term. What would you do about spring-term electives? Electives cannot be offered every period, and you would be shoehorned into taking the electives that were only available during your free periods. This effectively removes all choice from the system, because choosing from a limited selection is like having no choice at all. Sure, the programming might be a little easier, but is it really worth it when annualizing classes would eliminate our free will and the opportunity to take different courses?
Even more important than the new classes and teachers are the new people you meet. A friend of mine who goes to LaGuardia, junior Joseph Cocciarella, recently remarked on how much he hated going back to school at the start of a new term. I was excited about the possibilities that come with new classes, so I asked him what he meant. He then told me that classes at his school were annualized. With nothing but the same classes to look forward to, school just drags on.
Stuyvesant students don’t have this problem. Each new cycle ensures that you’ll meet new people and socialize with students from all the different cliques, even if it’s only in a classroom setting. Stuyvesant is so large, that without meeting new students each semester, I would only know a fraction of the population. Even in my junior year, there are usually five to 10 people I have never met in each of my classes. While this may say more about my lack of popularity than the benefits of the current system, it’s still something to consider. Without the ability to completely revamp my schedule twice a year, I’d have far fewer friends at Stuyvesant. Although I may not get to see my old friends during school as much, it’s a worthwhile trade-off since I’m making new ones and can connect with old ones outside of school.
When people complain about switching classes, it’s mostly about having to deal with new teachers and unfamiliar faces. However, when you’re in the real world, everything isn’t going to stay the same for your convenience. People will come and go, and life can change in an instant. In a way, changing classes is further training in preparing you for adulthood.
It all comes down to change. Some people are afraid of it or just don’t want to deal with the hassle that comes with it. With a new schedule can come new problems, but also new opportunities. It’s these opportunities that make the current system worth it.