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The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

AP Carnegie: Turn your flunks into slam dunks

Bela Jotwani
Artistic reprersentation of giant squirrel/Carnegie student running in front of Carnegie carrying College Board acorn

As a graduating senior, I’ve seen it all. The easiest-hard classes, the ones I thought I’d fail, the ones I did fail and the best classes to take a nap in. 

However, as we learned in Calculus, there is a solution to every problem. Here are a few words of wisdom that I have acquired throughout the years in my own infinite Carnegie AP wisdom.

AP Human Geography: Don’t be a freshman

It’s important, it’s relevant, blah blah blah. Does anyone REALLY like Human Geo WHEN they’re taking it?? I didn’t think so.

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But, as a senior, watching my brother struggle in AP Human Geography was more fun than taking the class itself. I realized I can connect what I learned in that class to the real world, and I can see it in my day-to-day life and compare notes with my brother.

So that led me to the solution, that if you want to like AP Human, just don’t be a freshman.

AP Human is interesting, it’s not harder than my other classes, and the teachers are great. The life skills you learn in class are so valuable that you will forget them the instant you step out of the testing room. 

Next time you look at a pretty building or map, make sure to remember the class that makes you think you vaguely know something about it: AP Human Geo. 

AP French: Go back in time and kidnap your parents

Between the six sections on the AP exam, the inability to find non-R movies, and the struggle of staying awake at 9 a.m., AP French was undoubtedly one of the most challenging APs Carnegie had to offer.

How do you succeed in this class? What you have to do is first invent a time machine. Go back in time and displace your parents as infants into a nice French family. Then, you’ll be a native speaker and will absolutely slay AP French. 

The good thing about AP French is that you will be very well-fed. Whether it’s croissants or candy, although you may be stuck at Carnegie, your mouth will be at a cafe in France. Shoutout to Ms. Moumni for feeding us. Love, first-period French.

AP Physics 1: Cry

It’s all you can do.

AP Physics C: See above

You’re crazy if you take this class (I’m crazy).

Easing into the class is relatively nice. The Pearson will take you 10 minutes, and you’ll review everything from Physics 1, and amidst college applications of first-semester senior year, you might not even think this class is that hard.

Then, the fun starts. 

Electricity and magnetism sound like they’ll be full of fun circuits and casually electrocuting your friends, but it is so much more. The mounds of information you stuff into your brain every day will make you question the capacitance of your brain. 

Your friends will make fun of you. Your alarm clock will make fun of you. But after all of it is done, you’ll see your 90% grade on a test and jump with joy. And I’ll be happy for you too! Just don’t look at the actual scantron, or you’ll realize why the tests are curved that much.

AP Research: Drop out of high school

Becoming a high school dropout will ensure you the optimal grade for AP Research. Not only will you save brain cells by cutting OneNote out of your life, but you’ll also follow in the footsteps of the biggest research icons that are out there: Swiftie tik tokers. 

By dropping out of high school, you can avoid the mounds of busy work that will make you want to pull your hair out! Instead of fidgeting and fretting in class, you can reconnect with nature, abandon society, or work at McDonalds. 

Maybe you can accomplish things by dropping out because studies have shown that physically being in an AP Research class makes 90% of Carnegie students incapable of being productive. Even after doing all the New York Times puzzles and taking a nap, Carnegie students always seem to find SOMETHING else to do other than AP Research in AP Research. 

This may have disastrous side effects such as writing 1,000 words in one night, frantically sending out last-minute surveys, and becoming bffs with Chat GPT.

Therefore, one can only conclude that the only way to defeat AP Research is to drop out of high school. McDonalds is calling. 

AP Photography: Actually do the work

If you are a chronic procrastinator, your AP Photography experience will be mostly fun and relaxing. You get to press buttons (the ones on cameras and Ms. Bohenick’s), play with light, and do arts and crafts in pursuit of an amazing portfolio.

That is, until, it’s the week before your portfolio is due and you have half of it.

Then you’ll frantically cram amidst your AP studying, grabbing people, putting them on stools and reminding yourself you can’t just take a 5. You’ll bang your head on the wall struggling with character counts, your blood will boil at Photoshop lagging, and if you forget to save your work??? Forget it, you might as well give up now.

But, when you finally click submit on that disgusting AP yellow button, it’ll be like the world has come back to life. Birds will sing, the sun will shine brighter, and the bags under your eyes will be a little lighter. 

If you can get through this razing challenge, you may just have a batch of photos that you can be proud of for years to come. You can submit them to contests, give them to colleges and wear a camera around your neck that just says I’m better than everyone.

Or, they can sit on your computer and you’ll never look at them again. Your choice. 

AP Calc AB: Tell math to solve its own problems

Beware of integration!!!! It will try to use you as a therapist and it will tell you all of its problems!!!!

Sometimes issues will have a quick fix. A neat bubble, some MVT, and you’ll be on your way. 

But some will make you wonder what the meaning of life is and how trig fits in the picture.

My advice is to resist!!!! Never again can calculus take advantage of us!! Tell it to go away! Stand up for yourself walk confidently out that door, and try not to trip over a desk on your way out.

AP Macroeconomics: Fall in love with capitalism

If you love capitalism, AP Macro will be an easy class for you. You and Mr. Tran will bond over your mutual love of money as you assign a numerical value to everything in your life (your parents, your pets, your homework). 

However, the numerical value you assign to your tests in this class should be low. Otherwise, you are in danger of your self-esteem dropping down a cliff and into a pile of dirt instead of money. 

Every test will make you laugh instead of cry. Every graph will start looking the same. And, whenever you see someone in a burnt orange polo shirt, you’ll think it’s Mr. Tran (he’ll appear in your nightmares).

Overall, the classes I’ve taken at AP Carnegie were mid.  

I’ve been chased by maps and hounded by French speakers in my dreams. I have woken up in the middle of the night thinking I was forgetting something (it was an assignment). And most of all, I’ve watched my friends at Lamar GO OUT on WEEKDAYS and had to accept that I’m stuck at home with my HISD computer and AirPods.

But in the end, when I step out of the testing room, the only thing I ever feel is “freedom.” Knowing you are done with an entire topic for as long as you want to is easily the best feeling you’ll get at Carnegie.

In the moment, your happiness and joy for life will make you forget all of the brain cells you’ve lost. That is until you have to do it all again next year. 

So in conclusion, when it comes to APs at Carnegie, my advice is to shoot your shot. You’ve given blood, sweat and tears to your class, a little more pain doesn’t hurt anyone (except you). So lock in, put on your headphones and guzzle caffeine. 

Because although you may flunk, if you listen to my advice, you will definitely slam dunk.

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About the Contributor
Bela Jotwani
Bela Jotwani, Staff Writer
Bela Jotwani is a senior at Carnegie Vanguard. When not hitting the books, Bela can be found exploring the city's eclectic coffee and boba shops, curating the perfect playlist for every occasion. She’s an avid fan of "Heartstopper" and "Brooklyn 99," and her creative writing talents shine as an ENFP personality who loves to craft imaginative stories.
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    ChloeMay 7, 2024 at 3:32 pm

    Love this article, and couldn’t agree more with the AP Human Geography part! Even as a sophomore it’s still so amusing to hear the freshman struggle with their late nights doing flashcards and studying for their FRQs…