Advanced...Placement?

April 24, 2011
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After explaining a new project, my AP European History teacher announces, “Hey guys, honestly, this project cannot be done in one night. Start your research now.” Looking around the room, it’s clear how this will end. Someone comments, “Is that a challenge?” Another student answers with, “Challenge accepted.”

AP Students. The teachers recognize us as the advanced placement students. We, on the other hand, do not think of ourselves as such. Advanced placement? Funny. Advanced procrastinators is far more accurate.

I can speak from experience. I, personally, have had my bouts with late night homework sessions because of procrastination. With each winning round, you begin to feel invincible. We may go to school the next morning sleep deprived, but we finished the assignment and that’s all that matters.

So, what separates AP students from other students? We’re the world’s best con men. As original as the Coach purses at the kiosk at the mall, we always share our “product” with anyone who wants to see it, and sometimes we “borrow” ideas for our own success. We know how to be sneaky about our dark dealings. We never get caught. At any given moment, you will find a number of AP and honors students sharing answers on Facebook. If you make your page private, no teacher will know. It’s not like we even need Facebook to share answers anyway. Many teachers don’t care if you copy another student’s work in their class, as long as it’s not homework for their class.

Don’t believe me? Let me walk you through a typical day in my Honors Physics class.

Personally, I find physics difficult to understand, so I actually have to do all my own work in this class. People in the class know I always do the homework and labs, When I walk into class before the bell, I usually have someone come up to me and ask, “Hey, can I see your packet?” as they take it and walk away. After they copy it down, then hand it back, the mass homework copying begins. That person gives my answers- the ones I spent hours calculating-now on their packet, to the kid next to them, and that kid shares it with his table and so on. So by the time my teacher checks it in, he thinks we are all perfect beings. Until we all fail our tests. While I, on the other hand understand perfectly that we are far from innocent.

When I look behind my seat in Physics, a cluster of students are trading answers to this week’s math Four Square. That is, if it’s due that day. Otherwise, they work on their AP English reading assignment, I.E. reading the printed summary from Spark Notes. To my right, the lab partners are usually sharing their AP Calculus answers. Or just starting the assignment. To my left, my lab partner is starting his English homework due third period, complete with the doodles he did last night instead of the work. Sometimes he likes to mix things up with some games of Puzzle Frenzy on his calculator. Even farther left, the girls are studying for their AP French Oral presentations, or are painting their nails. In the back of the room, art students continue to work on their comic, “The Adventures of Scarf Boy and Gunshow.” My teacher looks around the room at everyone doing homework and assumes they’re all working on the physics problems, so he plays with his Magic Cards, often times selling them to and playing with other students in class.

After hearing this, you’re probably wondering how we manage this, or why our teachers even like us, maybe even why a grown man is playing with Magic Cards, a question I struggle to answer myself. However, I think it comes down to the desire to better ourselves. We signed up for the class knowing the hard work in store. Although we may not always be up to the challenge, we do our work. Even if that means running on two hours of sleep, or sometimes less. That is what sets us apart. Other non-honors students have sleep as a higher-ranking priority. Honors students, on the other hand, hold themselves accountable for Ivy League worthy grades.

Even though we’re professional when it comes to procrastination, we at least try to show some effort, like I do in my physics class. We stay up late, make study groups even if it’s on Skype at an un-Godly hour, and many of us do get our homework done. Sometimes our originality is questioned. It’s at least a start. At the end of the day, I can honestly say I am a hardworking, imperfect honors student.


Since perfection is unattainable, I sleep pretty well at night, knowing I do my best. At least the nights I don’t have a project to start and finish, which unfortunately are too far and few between.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

CarrieAnn13 said...
Jun. 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm
Why on earth would you submit work that isn't your own?  Copying is just morally wrong!  Yes, I am at the top of my class (there is no such thing as AP in our small school) and yes, I would be absolutely ashamed if I copied someone else's work.  It's plagiarism and it is something I refuse to do.  I would rather take a zero on an assignment than turn in something I plagiarized.
 
magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 9, 2011 at 10:21 am
This is so true! I'm in one AP class and all honors for everything else; and all my fellow AP classmates are constantly staying up late at night, doing the homework in study hall or other classes, or begging to copy my work. My entire life is taken up by studying, but it's true- we persevere to get it done, no matter at what cost, and that's what separates us from the non-honors students. Your article was so funny because it's true. High school, for the majority of honors students, is one big ra... (more »)
 
Acquit said...
May 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm
I'm only in middle school, but a ton of copying goes on around here, only a little different; the non-honors copy from the honors
 
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