Julia Kado '24
With course scheduling for next year coming up, the question of how to keep a healthy work-life balance but also challenge yourself in all educational fields has become relevant. Students often proclaim themselves proficient at one specific category, such as English, and are less inclined to take a science elective. This could prevent them from discovering an idea or possible career path that appeals to them.
“It’s a way to try it out and see if it’s something you might be interested in moving forward,” counselor Troy Glasser said. “(It’s important) to diversify your academics by taking different electives.”
South’s mythology teacher Harry Campion explains the idea of Chiron the Good Centaur, who taught his pupils more than just how to fight. He taught them architecture, medicine, poetry, music, rhetoric and math. Campion believes that many of our modern educational beliefs and curriculums are based on this idea.
“They’re not just brutish fighters,” Campion said. “The whole idea of a Greek hero is that your hero could do a little bit of everything. You have to learn how to do a bunch of things to be a well-rounded individual and to find out what the facets of your character are. Part of the glory of being young is that things aren’t set for you yet. You’re supposed to find your strengths this way, and the only way to do that is to try everything.”
Campion also mentioned the phrase ‘renaissance man,’ citing its meaning. It states individuals should be a jack of all trades.
“The idea of the renaissance individual is somebody who’s not just an artist, not just a mathematician or a writer; they’re all those things,” Campion said. “There’s no reason why different branches of learning can’t work off each other, mesh together and make you a better person as a whole.”
One way to go about diversifying a schedule beyond core classes are electives.
“Electives give you a chance to really see who you’re doing this for,” Campion said. “What are your motives in being here? There’s a lot of reasons why kids come to school, not all of them good reasons, but they could be. I think that the more variety of classes you take, the greater opportunity you have to realize the best reasons for being here.”
Campion doesn’t just teach mythology. He dabbles in many literature-based classes, but also finds himself very interested in science outside of the classroom.
“I love all the classes that I teach so much,” Campion said. “It’s so hard to pick and choose. There are some days when (the most fulfilling class to teach) is absolutely Mythology. The insight that Mythology gives you into human beings is absolutely critical. Other days it’s AP Lit; we have so much ridiculously intellectual fun in that class. Seeing people and seeing their minds light up with what we’re doing is so great. I have always loved Creative Writing too, so I can’t really pick one. “
For Dylan DeMarco ’22, language is vital. DeMarco is currently enrolled in his second year of Italian.
“The opportunity to formally learn a world language has been such a joy,” DeMarco said. “It allows me to connect to my heritage, which is something that does indeed put a sense of completion and fulfillment within you. It’s been a joy learning with Sgr. Formicola this year, and I look forward to continuing learning the Italian language through and beyond my time at South.”
Though challenging yourself via diverse classes is important, valuing your mental health and scheduling your classes according to upholding that is tricky according to DeMarco.
“When it comes to mental health especially, it’s extremely important to balance your schedule,” DeMarco said. “You should always keep in mind the workload of difficult classes and how much you can handle. Mental health is so important to one’s well-being, and having an unbalanced schedule could jeopardize that.”
Counselor Nicholas Bernbeck said many students feel pressure to not only take advanced placement and honors classes, but to uphold an impeccable grade point average.
“One thing I’d advise students to keep in mind is maybe trying to take on too much sometimes,” Bernbeck said “You don’t have to take all honors and AP. It’s about finding that right balance between challenging yourself and having rigor in your schedule.”
Glasser stresses that balance is a key component in scheduling classes..
“The art of counseling and the art of parenting is that you’re challenging yourself,” Glasser said. “You’re gonna work, but not be overwhelmed and not coasting where you can do your work in your sleep.”