It's the Christmas break right now and there's no reason why I should be talking about school during this time but I feel like this should be addressed.
So for a little back story...
When choosing classes for my senior year back when I was a junior I was iffy on the decision if I should take math. I didn't really have to because I had all my required math credits for graduation but I thought having a 5th math credit and having taken a type of math through all 4 years of high school would look good for colleges to look through (which really would). In the end I decided (along with my friend) to take a 5th math course and that math specifically being Calculus AB.
Now, if during the summer you're not going to study any math at all and forget all that you learned in Pre-Cal (even though I learned absolutely nothing in that class), then don't take that class. The first day of that class I instantly regretted taking it. It was understandable that we started learning limits on the first day since it is a college level class, but I knew I was not prepared at all. We had a pop quiz (which thankfully wasn't for a grade but just a warning that we needed to remember everything from last year) over the unit circle and I was like "Shit". It still being the first day, I was legitimately shaking in anxiety.
It had only been a week and I was already crying on my bed and being extremely stressed out because I was worried that I was going to fail that class and it was a huge deal for me because I've never failed a class before. I don't know why but I was a little relaxed that my friend was also suffering (unfortunately we didn't have the same class together). I guess it was because it was comforting to know that I wasn't alone in this stressful situation.
Skip to a few months later, specifically in October, me and my friend both decided to try and switch out because we were literally dying of stress and anxiety. I was constantly failing quizzes and some of my homework and my average grade was always in the high 50's and low 60's, it never was a passing grade. I talked to my counselor and she gave me a paper for my teacher to sign and told me to go talk with this other counselor (there are 4 counselors) because that counselor was the only person that deals with Pre-AP and AP classes, not my main counselor. So being completely scared having my math teacher talk about that paper with me, he leaves a note on it for that other counselor to look over it.
Now meeting that other counselor was a nightmare. The way she talked to me had me feeling so scared that I could not speak up for myself to counter what she told me (which was basically just attend more tutorials) and in the end she didn't let me switch out. So then I just came to accept my fate. I already knew the difficulty of that class so I should be fine as long as I attend tutorials and study. I was okay with that fact until after a few more of that class I was stressing out again.
One day, my friend told me that she was omitted from that class for the rest of the semester and then next semester she was switching out. I was happy for her but now I came to the realization that I had to get out of that class. I wasn't getting any better so I had to keep trying. So for the rest of the semester I kept bugging my counselor begging her for me to get out despite her repeatedly telling me that she couldn't do anything. I was too afraid to talk to that other counselor and it was confusing that my main counselor (also for my friend) was able to get my friend out but only after witnessing her have an actual panic attack. So I was like 'Should I freak out so much for her to get me out? How far do I have to go to convince her?'. This went on into December and after the Thanksgiving break I talked to that other counselor for the second time and her reason was to 'attend more tutorials' because I 'wasn't trying hard enough'. Then she tells me that I knew the expectations of an AP class once I signed up for it. I was like 'yeah because I took AP US History last year and it was hard but at least I enjoyed it and made a decent grade'. My mom even called her asking her to get me out because she could see my distress at home but the counselor told what she told me to my mom. Also in my mind I thought 'Do students truly understand how difficult an AP class could be until they actually had experience being in that class?' In the end she got fed up with me and said 'no'.
I forced myself to wake up earlier to attend morning and lunch tutorials every day to work on this extra credit packet that I could barely do anything on because I didn't understand most of it and also receiving help on homework. There were only 3 weeks left after the Thanksgiving break before the Christmas break and by the last week I was running out of time. There was no way that other counselor would talk to me again since the last time I talked to her it took 3 weeks since leaving a note for her to call me in and all I had left to seek help was my main counselor.
Recalling back to my friend's situation of having a panic attack that got her out of her Calculus class I thought of what I could do. I had already cried in front of my counselor before and I wasn't going to fake a panic attack. I came with what I thought was the best action and that was to cut myself. I thought that if I could show my counselor the cuts across my arm, that it would be enough to show her how serious I was to get out of that class. I actually BELIEVED that cutting myself would be deemed the best option because I couldn't stand it any longer.
I tried two nights to cut myself. I was alone in the kitchen and I had the biggest kitchen knife in my hand. I pressed it into my skin, though I didn't slide the blade, and made a line indent on my arm. I skimped out in trying to draw blood because I honestly didn't want to feel the pain and I was afraid my mom would find out. I just couldn't do it no matter how hard I wanted to.
So the day was Thursday, the day before the last day of school for the first semester. I went to visit my main counselor during lunch and had another private conversation. I pleaded again and cried a second time in front of her and she said she can't do anything unless I talk to either that same other counselor or my math teacher. I said I couldn't because I was so scared my teacher would think lowly of me for wanting to switch out and there was no way that other counselor would talk to me before the semester ends. And for me discussing my problem with my teacher is easier said than done because just thinking about it was freaking me out. I guess her seeing how distressed I was was enough for her to email my teacher asking if it was alright for me to switch out. She still told me to go see him and having the courage from her help I agreed to do so after school.
When after school arrived I went by the room of my math teacher but instead of going in I walked passed it to see my counselor again. The moment she saw me she told me I was out for next semester. I was like 'What' and she repeated it because my teacher said it was okay for me to leave. I cried again but this time in joy and hugged her because I was so relieved. She told me I couldn't get out of math in general and put me in Advance Quantitative Reasoning (AQR) but she told me it was easier thank Calculus so I was perfectly fine with that. I thanked her like a thousand times and when I met my friend and told her and we hugged like 3 times. It was like my life had been saved and I was grateful.
So all in short, thinking about it now I know I should've talked to my math teacher about it some more but the idea of that frightened me more to relying on my counselor. Even with my anxiety problems (which I seriously need to fix and I've been working on it for years because it was a lot worse back in middle school), I believe that making it so difficult for students to switch out of a Pre-AP/AP class is so ridiculous and preposterous. Just telling a student to 'attend more tutorials' because they're 'not trying hard enough' should not be the only reason to keep them from switching out. I told the other counselor that tutorials do not help me because I had to wait like 10 minutes after the teacher helps 5 other students to help me with one problem out of the other 15 problems I also need help on. 'Tutorials' don't always help students. 'Well just ask other students for help,' well after being indirectly told by one student that they have other people to work with instead of me (never even finished helping me) made me lose all confidence in asking anyone else.
This experience made me realize how messed up my school's rules in switching out of classes are. I truly hope that they become more lenient with their rules in the future because I don't want future students like me and my friend to have to have panic attacks, and attempt cutting themselves to convince their counselors to get out of class that's killing them mentally. It shouldn't be so hard and aggravating to get out of a class. If someone could easily switch out of an elective and an easy academic class, then they should have the right to easily switch out of a Pre-AP/AP class. I've never hated my high school so much before in my life and I'm grateful I'm leaving it next year. Their rule of once choosing to take a difficult class, they are not allowed to get out is so unfair and unjustified. This needs to be changed because I really don't want others to go through that agonizing process my friend and I went through for something that could be so less stressful if they didn't have that rule.
If you read though all of this then I want to thank you for sticking with me because this has been built up inside me for so long. What I thought would be 'the best option' was the first time I thought of something so drastic to do to myself. I still can't fathom I attempted doing it and I hope that never crosses my mind ever again because it's terrifying. I'm truly glad I'm out of that class because I fear that if I hadn't, I think I would've actually done what I attempted.
Again, thank you for reading this and I hope you guys understand how messed up rules and systems can be.