You are more than the numbers you put on your college applications

Joey Zhu , Guest writer

Looking back, I spent way too much time and effort preparing for and taking AP tests, to the point that they were hindering me rather than benefiting me. 

Although I genuinely enjoyed learning the material each course had to offer, I found that I was taking them for the sake of taking them, trying to demonstrate proficiency in as many subjects as possible. When considering my long-term goals – what I want to dedicate myself to in my college studies and career – I realized that I was wasting my time.

I would rather show aptitude and passion in a few focused areas, than indecisively and obsessively loading myself with AP scores and short-lived knowledge.

Despite that, I don’t want to say that I totally wasted my time taking so many AP tests. Economics, government, and biology were some of my favorite classes where I thoroughly explored different facets and mechanisms of our society. It is especially comforting to understand how our world’s history may unfold during this pandemic. 

Venturing into all these different subjects also gave me opportunities to find topics that I might enjoy, and even take up in college as a major. That was the case with computer science, which I may not be majoring in right now if it weren’t for CS Principles, a class that I found very interesting.

AP classes are a great way to show that you’re up to challenging yourself. They push you out of your comfort zone, and maybe into a passion or talent you never knew about. 

But they are by no means the only way to accomplish all of that. Your performance in these tests, no matter how many you take, only shows a small piece of who you are as a student. There are many, many activities and clubs in which you can demonstrate your character and find occupations that you really like, and these are likely much more enjoyable than pulling all-nighters for a 2-week onslaught of exams. 

Don’t stress yourself out on the numbers, especially after this year’s fiasco of technical errors. These numbers don’t speak much for the passions and dedications that truly define you.

You’re a student, not a statistic. 

Joey Zhu is a 2019 Cal High graduate. He attends UC Berkeley.