As a sophomore student enrolled in World History AP, commonly referred to as WHAP, this year has been exponentially more challenging and rewarding for me because I am taking an advanced placement class at Mountain View High School. Complaints about this course can be overheard in the hallways on a daily basis from sophomores struggling through their first AP class. While we underclassman stress about the tedious notes and the weekly quizzes, there is another species of WHAP students: Seniors.
“I really like history and plan on majoring in it in college,” Leah Kidd, an MVHS senior taking WHAP, said.
These upperclassman are required to take Econ and Civics, so they have added another difficult course to the already treacherous workload of college apps and SATs.
Another daring MVHS senior, Melissa Reed, says, “I enjoyed other AP courses and thought WHAP would be a good continuation of learning different historical information and cultures.”
Not only do they have to deal with the verbose notes and several hours of studying, they also have to adjust to underclassman. Students in the same class separated by two years has a unique effect.
“Seniors know what to try on, while sophomores give full effort to everything,” Reed said, “like color coordinating their notes and showing up to class on time.”
The difference in age is also noticed in the way WHAP students view their grades.
“At the beginning of the year, underclassmen cared a lot about comparing grades with everyone else,” Kidd said,, “as the year progresses people don’t ask me how I did on a test anymore; they are competing with themselves more.”
Since there is a scarce number of seniors taking WHAP, some have learned to ally with sophomores in order to conquer this overwhelming but beneficial course.
“Some sophomores used to be intimidated by the seniors and compared themselves to us even though knowledge wise, we are all at the same place,” Kidd said, “but the sophomores I have built friendships with… I wouldn’t have otherwise met.”
WHAP is unique in the sense that it mixes seniors and sophomores, providing diversity within the classroom.
“The notes are a lot more bearable than USHAP (United States History AP), but MEHAP (Modern European History AP) was more relatable to everyday life than WHAP,” Kidd said.
Both Kidd and Reed agree that World History AP is a challenging but enjoyable class.
It’s interesting but hard to jump around to all different civilizations,” Kidd added, “everybody says their sophomore history class was their easiest and favorite, but taking a mostly sophomore class as a senior is one of my hardest classes…I’m not sure if it’s the material or because I’m a senior.”
For sophomores, this will most likely not be our last AP class, so completing it will only be winning a small battle in the context of many. However, for the few brave seniors enduring this war, it will feel like defeating the Mongols when they finish that last set of notes.