The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


The Student News Site of Alief Kerr High School


Tough decisions put electives against academics

Heading to Room 328 for course selection during her junior year, senior Abby Lam thinks about college and her future. Approaching closer and closer only tore her more apart; a difficult decision had to be made. More art classes or more academic classes?

In high school, students have to make several decisions, some of which cause students to leave their passions and hobbies behind because of their academic priorities. As students progress through their secondary education, the choices made now impact their future regardless if they’re small or big decisions.

Since middle school, Lam had always enjoyed art, but when she began planning a career, she had to make a change.

“Even though I love art and science equally, I decided to limit the number of art classes I take and focus on science courses instead,” Lam said. “I plan on being an oncologist in the future, so I choose to see art as a hobby. To me, it was more reasonable to focus more on science than art because of the career path I want to take.”

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She believes high school and college are the start of her career.

“The first four years of college could be the most important years, because that’s when you decide what you want to be and what you want to do,” Lam said. “These four years are the critical years of your life.”

Lam suggests that students plan for their future now and make the choices they need in order to be more prepared.

“If you don’t plan ahead for the future now, you will be caught off guard when it’s actually time to make decisions, and it might even be too late to change the mistakes you’ve made in the past,” Lam said. “You don’t want to look back and say, ‘I wish I had done this instead of that.’ You want to always know where you’re headed.”

Related to Lam’s decision, junior Tony Luu decided to leave Speech and Debate in order to concentrate on academic courses.

“I left speech and debate because I took a lot of AP classes and I knew that I couldn’t balance the two,” Luu said. “Taking AP classes early allows me to explore the difficulty of college [and] would reflect who I am to colleges.”

Luu, who has participated in Speech and Debate since middle school, felt guilty for leaving.

“It was difficult to leave Speech and Debate because I didn’t want to disappoint the team,” Luu said.

In the end, Luu left something he enjoyed participating in to focus on college and his future.

“I’m invested in college because I want to have a bright future and a successful life,” Luu said. “I plan on either becoming a petroleum engineer or a doctor.”

In a different situation, sophomore Emily Nguyen chose to drop one elective to devote more time to another.

“I made the decision to leave orchestra so I could dedicate more time to focus on debate,” Emily said. “Towards the end of the semester before I decided to quit, I had no desire to practice or learn new music.”

Emily had mixed feelings about her music and felt that if she didn’t leave one, she wouldn’t improve in either.

“I don’t know if it’s because we were playing the same music every day or if I was just losing my passion for it,” Emily said. “I probably would have ended up not being successful in either orchestra or debate if I didn’t stop one because I wouldn’t be able to perform to the best of my abilities and would disappoint more people in result of that.”

Ultimately, Emily chose Speech and Debate over other activities for her personal interests even though she does not plan on majoring in law.

“A lot of people assume that since I’m in speech that I am going to become a lawyer, but that’s not necessarily true,” Emily said. “The majority of the people at Kerr are part of the music department but that doesn’t mean they’re all going to be music majors or musicians when they grow up. I participate in speech and debate because I like the activity and have fun doing it. I think it gives me more exposure to what is happening in the world outside of my own life.”

Junior Vu Nguyen also devotes more time to electives because of his own interests.

“I chose to take art because when I finished a piece of artwork, I feel more than just accomplishment,” Vu said. “I feel that there is a more emotional freedom and live a life not set by society. I mean no one can dictate us to do something we don’t like without our permission.”

Vu said his decision was easy.

“Learning art with Ms. [Lisa] Canorro and Ms. [Janine] Hughes allows me to dig deeper into my thought process,” Vu said. “Picking art was an easy decision for me since it’s what I like,  am interested in, and makes high school more enjoyable.”

If he could’ve done it differently, he would’ve researched and planned ahead.

“My only regret is that I didn’t try harder to research art and practice more at home,” Vu said.

Vu, who yet to determine what he wants to be when he grows up, has a positive take on his future.

“Art is my garden of dreams and hope for an interesting and colorful future,” Vu said. “I have no idea what I want to be yet. But hey life is filled with possibilities.”

As Lam focuses on her science courses, she is glad that she made decisions ahead of time.

“Planning ahead is always good,” Lam said. “Life is full of ambiguities and unexpected events, so worrying about the future now and making these tough decisions can ensure that it will be what you want it to be.”

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