The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

To Ditch or Not to Ditch? That’s Not Really the Question

You wake up from what you thought was an evening nap and you look over at the clock. To your horror, it reads 7 a.m. School starts in an hour, and you napped through your study time. What do you do? In that moment, some students make that desperate decision to ditch class. It’s not difficult to see why this is a problem so rampant among high school students. Unlike getting good grades, ditching is always doable. It’s an easy, problem-solving escape that lets one take a breather and complete the work that couldn’t be finished the night before.

When the race to get into a brand name college in this competitive era is so rigorous, students feel like they don’t have an option but to pile their plates high with AP and extracurriculars. Despite the alluring option ditching offers, students should refrain from falling victim to that temptation. Instead, students should choose workloads that won’t put them in a position where they have to confront that option.

“School can get very overwhelming at times,” junior Salim Damerdji said. “I can recount at least a couple times where I cut a class so I could finish either homework or study for a more important class. I know it’s dishonest, but I’m put in a situation where that’s what I have to do.”

Students feel forced to adopt challenging schedules to boost their GPAs and have appealing transcripts. Library coordinator Gordon Jack too empathizes with the situations many students face.

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“Unfortunately, our system sometimes puts students in that situation where they have to make those choices,” Jack said. “I think sometimes teachers can get myopic about their class and not think about the broader schedule that a student maybe has. We’ve tried for years to sync up tests and major project due dates. This has been a really big issue for the faculty and because we know it’s a problem. It’s just really hard to do when you’re trying to sync up that many classes and that many projects. But I do think in some ways the system puts kids in situations where they have to [ditch].”

The desire to have stellar grades often conflicts with morality. Students have to choose between flawless academics and flawless morality. It can be very tempting to choose skipping a class for that extra time to study, possibly improving performance in a future date. A way to solve this dilemma is to choose to take classes students feel they can responsibly handle.

“Last year, I thought that I could survive with lots of honors classes because I thought I could handle it, resulting in me nearly failing Algebra 2 Honors with Mrs. Evans and barely a decent grade in Biology Honors,” sophomore Thuy-Tien Le said. “I remember feeling really guilty once for ditching my first period history to go take a retake for math in order to raise my math grade that semester. All the pressure last year resulted in my decision to take it easy when picking my classes for this year, which is why I decided to pass on taking Chemistry Honors.”

Ditching can become addictive, and an “I can conquer the world” mindset in terms of class choices is just not worth it if the price is to skip classes every so often. Until colleges start caring more about subjective characteristics and less about the big 4.0, students should take on schedules that avoid ditching. Integrity and sleep are worth more than a golden résumé that eats away at honesty.

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