Designing a manageable schedule


Evelyn Welton

Carlmont student, Sarah Madani, doing homework during lunch while her friends socialize. Many students use lunchtime to study or complete assignments.

Work loads for students at Carlmont vary drastically depending upon what classes, and how many classes, a student decides to take leaving many to struggle with the choice of how to create their schedules.

The more classes a student takes, and the harder they are, the more work is assigned. An excess of classes with large work loads almost always leads to less time for their personal lives, especially with the addition of extracurricular activities. A lack of time for their personal lives is an issue that many students deal with as a result of taking an excess of classes with large work loads.

For many students, a typical day consists of school, homework, and an number of extracurricular activities leaving little room for free time to socialize and unwind.

Sophomore Pranav Kamat, who is taking numerous Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses reports that homework loads vary greatly from day to day leaving him overwhelmed some days and with a managavle load other days.

“[I feel] very stressed some days and other days it goes really smooth,” Kamat said.

Another student Charlotte Lopez, a junior at Carlmont, is feeling the stress of her class choices.

“I definitely wish I had more free time because I have so much work that I have to focus on. I don’t have enough time for the things I actually want to do for myself. Especially on weekends, we have other time-consuming obligations to attend to and trying to squeeze in time to relax. It feels like I constantly have schoolwork to attend to,” Lopez said.

This experience is influencing Lopez to lessen her workload for next year, her senior year, by limiting herself to only taking two AP and honors courses so that she still has time for other activities.

“Last year, I signed up for the respective AP history class for my grade level and realized it was way too much work for me. I think I’ve learned from that because I won’t be taking the AP Government, which is the 12th grade AP history class,” Lopez said

On the other end of the spectrum, students like Carlmont senior David Jacques have a minimal amount of work and as a result, less stress for the classes they are taking due to their course selection.

“Well, right now, I’m happy, but it’s only because I took easy classes this year; it was a conscious decision. Last year, and most years before, I was overwhelmed with homework.” Jacques said.

Jacques, like many other seniors, is focused on his college applications which influenced his decision to take classes with smaller work loads.

Connie Dominguez, a counselor at Carlmont, hopes that her advice about course selections resonates with students and stresses that students should take classes they truly care about.

“I tell students that you are better off taking courses that you are passionate about and challenging yourself in those areas instead of trying to do it all,” Dominguez said. “That’s really what colleges want to see, that they’re thriving in what really matters to them.”

Dominguez also discussed the point of having equal time for classes and activities so that students can still do well in school and not feel overwhelmed.

“Colleges do want to see rigor, and they also want to see extracurricular activities, but you have to make sure that you balance both. Colleges don’t want to see all these specific activities and then because of the activities, poor grades, which means that they didn’t either choose correctly or use their time wisely,” Dominguez said.

Resources are also available on the Carlmont website to help students plan their schedules such as the Carlmont Program Planning Handbook. The handbook is a document that has information to assist students in selecting their classes. It includes a table of the weekly averages of homework that each class is supposed to give and a worksheet that students can fill out to determine the amount of time per week spent on school, extracurriculars, and free time.

Work load and how much one can handle is an essential factor to consider when determining course selections in order to preserve free time and reduce stress and with a myriad of class options, determining what courses take can oftentimes be an arduous and difficult decision for students to make.