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Up To The Challenge

Camas High School is well known for challenging students to reach their full potentials. However, what classes challenge the students the most? A majority of students agree that the most difficult classes come down to Pre-Calculus, AP US History, AP Physics 1 and C,  AP Biology, and AP Chemistry. However, these classes are difficult for distinctly different reasons, whether it be the difficulty of the material or the time commitment required to complete them.

Photo courtesy of Lily Dozier

When it comes to Pre-Calculus, Junior Clayton Lukens explains that “it’s not Mrs. Carroll’s fault [that the class is so difficult]; the material is just really hard.” Junior Ben Taylor agrees, saying that “understanding the new material that’s not from last year” is a difficulty he faces. However, getting help from classmates is a great resource- Taylor explains that he and his friends “have a group chat that [they] talk in about problems” and that “sometimes [he will] go to Blackrock and work on homework and study with other people.” He continues to advise using “YouTube videos that can help show [students] things if [they are] a visual learner.”

For AP Physics 1, the algebra-based prerequisite for Physics C, Senior Blake Wegener states that the most difficult part of the class is the time commitment required to keep up with it. He elaborates that “in class, it’s as much as you can fit in, and then that just carries on into time after school… the material isn’t bad, it’s just that the time we have to do it is minimal.” However, the class is manageable if students stay on top of classwork, labs, and test corrections. Wegener adds that it is important to “make sure you have enough time and not much stuff going on outside of school so you can stay on top… and not fall behind. Junior Jacob Mukobi’s tip to prospective Physics students is to “read the textbook.” He says that when he’s confused about new material, he “look[s] up stuff and see[s] how to do it from someone other than Mr. Wells” to get a second point of view.

Physics C, the calculus-based version of Physics 1, offers a whole new array of challenges. As senior Sophie Tsai explains, “there’s a lot of complicated concepts involved in physics already, but then you’re adding calculus to it, so it’s the combination of a lot of factors that are difficult on their own already.” However, if you know how to manage the class, it isn’t all that bad. Tsai copes with the difficult material by reading the textbook and says that “Mr. Wells is super open to asking questions.” Senior Tristan Cobb manages the class by going in during “any maker time that [he isn’t] obligated to do anything” and just “ask[s] him questions and work[s] on things related to the class.” Tsai adds that “if [the class] is something that seems like it would interest you, definitely go for it… it’s a cool class and… the difficulty shouldn’t scare people away from taking it.”

AP Physics isn’t the only difficult science class- AP Biology often challenges students with its large amounts of homework and material requirements. Both Sophomore Sophie Freel and Junior Daria Oviatt agree that the homework makes the class difficult, and that time management is the key to success. Oviatt elaborated that “Mrs. Abe made video lectures, which was really nice of her, but you have to stop and pause it to take notes so it would turn into a two-hour thing.” Although she has Mr. Marshall and not Mrs. Abe, Freel explained that she manages her time by “making sure [she doesn’t] have any other homework the day that [she] chooses to do [her] bio.” Despite the time commitment, Freel says that “it’s challenging,  but anyone who puts their mind to it can really succeed. If you give it the time of day and you have that mindset to get it done then it’s not bad.”

Similarly, AP Chemistry has a large amount of coursework that must be completed. Junior Mary-Elizabeth Wurzer states that she finds that “sometimes the pace is difficult.” Junior Blaine Mulder explains that the material is most difficult for him because it can be “very hard to grasp because it’s not something that’s really tangible to the human senses.” However, despite these difficulties, the class is manageable for students who go in with the right attitudes. Wurzer says that it’s important to “be willing to memorize things and take lots of notes.” It is also important to make sure “you have the basics down” from the summer project to be prepared for what you need to learn the rest of the year. If students struggle with the material, Mulder says that “Mrs. Carmichael herself is very nice and very sweet and she’s really helped… out with the class”.

Mulder would also like to add that “Mrs. Carmichael is a sweetheart and I love her.”

Last but not least, AP US History is another difficult class offered at CHS. Junior Ava Wright explains that “the most difficult part of the class is not procrastinating, because oftentimes you’ll have multiple things going on at once and it’s tempting to procrastinate.” Senior Sami Walters says that she struggled most with “tests and essays”, which make up a vast majority of what students do with their class time. However, if you don’t procrastinate and make a point to study back notes and IDs, the class can become easier to deal with. Walters says that “it’s a really fun class, and [any students on the fence about taking it] should definitely take it if they like history and want to experience funny meme from Tomasetti because that was the best part.” Wright argues that it is important to “work hard because Tomasetti knows if you do and he admires that.”

No matter what the class is, many students agree it is important not to let the intimidation of hard classes get in the way of taking them. Oftentimes, challenging themselves in the classroom can help students grow as people and even discover new interests. It is vital to remember that, although some classes are drastically more difficult than others, they are often worth the challenge.

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