Seniors choose alternative class schedules to help balance work, life

Tilly Friedlander

Many students at Redwood feel that they don’t have the time to pursue their passions and interests because of an overcrowded schedule. What these students might not realize is that for some, there is an option that doesn’t include spending six or more hours at school every day.

Seventy students at Redwood are taking only five courses, according to Patty Segovia, Redwood’s data specialist.

During his sophomore year, senior Teddy Hayden wanted to mountain bike competitively, but wasn’t able to train because it was already dark outside by the time he started biking after school.

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Focusing on mountain biking, school and work, Senior Teddy Hayden takes only five class periods at Redwood.

In order to give himself time to practice mountain biking, Hayden has taken only five courses his junior and senior year.

Hayden recommends a five-class schedule to any student with a valid reason for doing so, as it has taken stress off his days.

“It’s less stressful now. I have more time after school for mountain biking and whatever I’m doing. Even if I’m not riding that day, I can go to work earlier,” Hayden said.

The district board policy states that a five-class schedule is only available to juniors and seniors, according to counselor Katie Paulsen. For juniors, it is only an option if they are taking a class at College of Marin. For seniors, a five-class schedule is an option if they are either taking a class at College of Marin or if they have a job.

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Senior Kayla Dolberg takes five classes so that she can work more hours at Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Senior Kayla Dolberg also has a five-period schedule, making the balance between work and school more manageable.

“I requested to have five classes because I work at Nothing Bundt Cakes and now I am able to work longer shifts,” Dolberg said.

For Dolberg, there wasn’t a need for her to take six classes, as she was a teacher’s assistant (TA) both her second and sixth periods, which she felt was not a productive use of her time.

Dolberg also feels that her five-period schedule has made her days much less hectic.

“I have more time to do my homework. As soon as I get out of school I go home and quickly do my school work. Then I have the rest of the day for myself and for my work,” Dolberg said.

According to Dolberg, having more leisure time in a student’s schedule is better for their mental health. She recommends a five-period schedule for seniors rather than juniors because colleges look closer at junior year classes.

Junior Avrelle Harrington is currently enrolled in seven classes as she hopes to pursue a medical degree in college. Harrington thinks that enrolling in several academic classes during junior year is vital for students looking to attend a prestigious college.

“While [taking seven classes] does get overwhelming and stressful, I enjoy all my classes and what I’m learning in each of them. A main factor in my decision to take seven classes was college because the extra class increases my number of AP’s, benefiting my GPA,” Harrington said.

A five-class schedule is a better opportunity for seniors than juniors, according to Paulsen.

“Junior year is the last year that colleges are able to see what courses students have taken, so for students who want to be more competitive, it would be that last year to get as many courses in that you’d like for colleges to see,” Paulsen said.

Hayden said that the process of getting approval to take a five-class schedule was quick. All he had to do was talk to his counselor, who was very accommodating.

According to Dolberg, a five-class schedule should be an option that more students are aware of, as she thinks that not many of her classmates know about it.