It is third period on the first day of school. Outside, students greet each other in passing, relishing the autumn sunlight that whispers through campus. Inside, I sit in Dr. Houston’s classroom, anxiously scrolling through my schedule on DAInfo.
The schedule is a commodity amongst Deerfield students. It dictates the knowledge, teachers, and peers that they will interact with throughout the year. In the past, I’ve had numerous conversations with teachers, explaining my departure from or entry into their class. I am deeply grateful for the grace they have shown.
The events of this Fall, thus, came as a surprise. I found myself entangled in a lengthy and complicated schedule change, growing to involve Dr. Hills, Ms. Hemphill, my college advisor, faculty advisor, and various other teachers. In the first weeks of my senior year, instead of reuniting with friends or studying for the ACT, I found myself in Dr. Houston’s classroom, seeking his advice.
I was consumed by my schedule, split between the classes I wished to take and the classes I felt forced to take. College. Prior commitments. Judgement from peers and family. The disappointment and anger of a teacher. Fear effectively overshadowed my genuine interest in an academic subject. I wanted desperately to please the different authority figures in my life.
But, even now, I remember exactly what Dr. Houston told me: no outside individual, particularly a teacher, should dictate your choice. You do.
To all Deerfield students: I am not calling for you to fight your teachers or storm Ms. Kocot’s office. Deerfield’s administration does its best to balance its students’ wishes with the logistical resources of the school. In a school of over 600 students, this is an impressive feat. I do believe, however, that a student should never feel scared or threatened over a scheduling change. You have both the power and responsibility to stand up for what you want. Your teachers, parents, and college aspirations come second to your passion.
If you want to switch your post AP History class with Intro to Studio Art, if you want to take Studies instead of US History, if you want to cut a class for a free, by all means, do it — it’s your schedule.
Now, I sit in Dr. Houston’s classroom during fourth instead of third period, learning the Greek 3rd declension endings and discussing Pythagoras’ hatred of beans, glad that I fought for it.
Do not be afraid. Your education at Deerfield is yours to shape.