Be happy you stuck with AP Physics

If attending Jefferson taught me the existence of an A-minus, then taking AP Physics during junior year taught me that grades can fall far lower than that. Even though I wasn’t able to get the highest grade possible in the class, I don’t regret not giving in to the temptation of dropping out of AP Physics. So to those juniors still sticking around, I guarantee that you’ll survive, so hang in there.

Of course, there are those students to whom AP Physics is considered easy. There are students who will understand everything mentioned in the class. There are students who will even get out with an A average for the whole year without much effort. But don’t worry too much about these people. I wasn’t one of them and, truthfully, not many of you are either. And these include Mr. and Ms.

I went into AP Physics confident I was going to ace the class. Having taking AP Calculus BC as a sophomore the year before, I surely had the math to back it up. But all problems given in class were word problems, and the math skills that I was so proud of didn’t come in handy when I couldn’t even figure out what variables went where.

Nevertheless, I assure all of you scared and stressed juniors that staying in AP was the right choice to make – this class gave me a lot more than two AP credits. I gained so much in this class that even the time, paper, pen and sanity that I wasted every Sunday night solving twice as many Webassign problems as the Physics 1 students was worth it. Even that low grade I got didn’t bother me.

I stayed and enjoyed the class simply because every day of AP Physics (minus the test days) was fun. And I can confidently say that the majority of other now-seniors felt the same, too. Maybe it’s the unique personalities present in the class. Maybe it’s the result of many years of effort on the teachers’ part to make the dreaded course less painful for the students. Maybe I was easily amused by the tiniest things in class in an attempt to distract myself from the difficulty level. Whatever the reason is, this class is one of
the classes I would happily wake up at 7 a.m. for, even if school wasn’t required. And coming from me, that means a lot.

Other than that, there are times when you get the hardest question on the SLOB correct and that one extra point means the world to you. There are times when that green check mark on Webassign that you got from your third and last try is the most beautiful thing you have seen in your life. There are times when the little drawing of an elephant you did on the test earns you more points than what you would have gotten with the mess your mind was in. These are the little joys in life those students not in AP Physics
won’t have the chance to fully appreciate.

Even if you do get the lowest grades you have ever gotten in your life, be proud of it. Be proud that you had enough guts to take AP Physics as a junior in Jefferson. Be proud that you survived all the reminders of the drop-out deadlines. Be proud of the challenge you decided to accept. Let’s avoid that “withdraw” on your transcript, and let’s not treat the grades you received in AP as shackles
that will tie you down in Physics 1.

Besides, we got to party and laugh at the Physics 1 kids as they spent all their free time doing wave labs during

(This editorial originally appeared in the October 12, 2012 print edition.)