Next Year, Take a Class Purely for Your Enjoyment


Cake is an essential for any course completion celebration. (Lucy K. 24)

At the beginning of the school year, I realized that I had put myself in a bit of a tricky situation. I was signed up to take seven classes in the first semester – six of them academic. While some at Lakeside may thrive with a schedule that packed, it wasn’t right for me. On top of Tatler, theater, and a job, I knew it would be too busy; however, I did not want to drop any of my classes. After digging through Lakeside’s Curriculum Guide, I discovered something that I had never noticed before. Buried in the middle of page eight lay a short four sentences detailing how “In the first two weeks of the semester, students may apply to take a non-required class ‘credit/no credit’ in lieu of a grade.” My problem had been solved.

I spent an hour during my free period running around campus to collect signatures from my advisors and Mr. Christensen, the teacher of my course, and handed in the form to take Chaos Theory credit/no credit hours before it was due. Three months and one semester later, I can confidently say that I made the right decision. I have absolutely adored these past months in that class (alongside Tatler EICs Stellan and Aaron and Executive Digital Editor Edward) and have been able to both fully participate in the class and relieve some of the strain that taking Lakeside classes comes with. I have also been able to more adeptly manage my workload, as I have increased flexibility in my workload; I can choose which assignments I want to deeply dive into and spend lots of time on and which I simply want to get a passing grade on. This does not mean that I didn’t put effort into the work I completed. Lakeside classes are complicated and require commitment, especially one as nuanced as Chaos Theory. It was not a cop-out or a way to skirt the system. Taking the class credit/no credit simply allowed me to alleviate some of the pressure. It was an informed decision that I encourage you to make as well. 

It can sometimes feel difficult to get the most out of a class when stressing about a good grade serves as an obstacle to taking risks. You may avoid taking an elective, especially those considered to be “notoriously difficult,” because you are worried about how it will affect your GPA. And although taking a class credit/no credit is not an option for all students, it is certainly a viable one for juniors looking to take an extra class in an area of their interest, or for seniors doubling up on courses in their favorite field. 

It was not a cop-out or a way to skirt the system. Taking the class credit/no credit simply allowed me to alleviate some of the pressure.

At a competitive school such as Lakeside, with a great emphasis on success, it can be important to take a step back and return to our passion to learn, and maybe even change the narrative around what “success” means. Success does not only look like getting into a good college or getting an A in an Honors class. Success also looks like enjoying yourself or developing a new passion. As students, we put an immense amount of pressure on ourselves to be “perfect.” Taking a class pass/fail is a rare opportunity at Lakeside to do something solely because you are interested in it: no possibility for a negative effect on your GPA; no impact on college applications; no ulterior motives. Just take the class because you want to.