I remember it like it was yesterday. I walked through the doors and entered the far end of a rectangular shaped room. I was at one end, and at the other end there he was.
He was poised, strong, and unmoving. I could notice the details on his body even from the other end of the room: his muscle definition, the veins running through his hands and up his arms, his curly hair.
I couldn’t believe that after studying Michelangelo for so long that I was actually standing in front of the Statue of David.
They had pictures in the books and talked about the studies that Michelangelo had done on cadavers in order to achieve such perfection, but no amount of pictures or words did the real thing any justice. All I could think about was how grateful I was that I had taken a class that allowed me to appreciate the beauty of something so magnificent, along with the thousands of other sights to see in Europe.
After I enrolled in my AP European History class, our teacher gave our class the opportunity to travel to Europe with her and students from other schools through EF tours. About twenty others and I took the opportunity, and through this class and trip our world was changed for the better, and you could do the same.
AP classes can be extremely challenging, but if you remember that they can enrich your understanding of the world, you can use them as motivation, and that they could save you time and money, they might get a little easier. Here are some tips on how to get through AP classes and how you could benefit from these classes in the future.
Enrich Your Understanding of the World
AP classes are designed to give you a more in depth understanding of a particular subject than you would get in a typical class. Not only will your course be centered around the details of the topic, but you can use what you learn in order to appreciate the world around you.
When I traveled to Europe for two weeks after I completed my European History class, I was able to appreciate everything on a much deeper level because I understood the history behind everything I was seeing.
When I saw the Coliseum, I could picture in my head the events that would take place in that very building in ancient Rome. When I went to the Louvre, not only could I look at the pieces of art and admire how they had weathered the tests of time, but I could tell you about the artists that had created them and what might have been their motivation to create their art. Because of the class I had taken, I could appreciate Europe more than I already did.
I’d be lying if I said this class wasn’t the hardest class I’ve ever taken (even compared to college courses!). I needed a lot of motivation to complete the course, and that’s what my trip in the summer became to me. Whenever I didn’t feel like studying or doing my reading, I thought about my trip and how I needed to learn as much as I could before I went.
This might not necessarily work for everyone, but you can find ways to reward yourself for doing well in your class. For example, set a timer to study for an hour for your AP Biology class, and then let yourself spend 20 minutes on Facebook or Instagram. That way, you’re setting a short term goal for yourself and rewarding yourself for achieving it.
Save Time & Money
It’s important that while taking AP classes you are focused on the bigger picture. Think about how this class can save you time and money if you work hard and pass the AP exam. Also, how you can use all of the information you learned and study skills you acquired to help you in college. The benefits from AP depend on what you decide to take from the course, whether it be higher understanding, motivation, or all of the above.
Gain a Different Perspective
We are constantly asking ourselves, “When will I ever use this?” while taking a class. But the real question is “How can I use this?” Once you start asking yourself this question you’ll see every-day incidents that can relate to what you’re learning in class.
The key to surviving an AP class or any difficult course for that matter is to find ways to use the course to better you as a person. Anything can help us learn and grow. We just have to find it within ourselves to use it for that purpose.
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