As she walks into her fifth period art class, she understands that this class isn’t just simply earning her the necessary fine arts credit, but rather an opportunity to gain more experience in the activity she enjoys. Despite being a freshman, Neha Chaudhary already has an idea about what she wants to pursue after high school.
“I’m thinking about taking graphic design in college. I want to major in it,”Chaudhary said, “Well, I’m a freshman, but I definitely am thinking about going to someplace like Texas Tech or somewhere around there; they have good art programs.”
While some students may see taking electives as nothing more than a requirement, others are able to discover what they are passionate about through these classes, and decide that they are going to continue with these electives, for example theater arts or art, in college.
Chaudhary explains how even at a young age, art was always around her growing up, and how this atmosphere encouraged her to become involved in the subject herself.
“I’ve been doing art ever since I was in elementary school, ever since I was little. My sister liked art, so I’ve kind of grown up with it. I like to do mixed media, mainly sculpture, but media, definitely,” Chaudhary said.
Not every student wants to major in art, however. Chaudhary explains why this particular elective seems to be less enjoyable when you know you are taking the class solely to earn the credit, versus students like herself who view the experience differently.
“Graphic design is really, it’s a broad subject, but it’s basically like in a company there are elements of graphic design, and also in anything computerized or media-art related. I think you try a lot harder, definitely, if you know you are going to pursue art. And when you’re just doing it to get it out of the way, it’s not necessarily fun, and you put more work into it if you’re more involved. And you definitely take everything with a negative connotation,” Chaudhary said.
Hopeful soon-to-be theater major, junior Ashlyn McCain, agrees with Chaudhary, adding how she thinks this difference in perspective has to do with the mentality of the student, and why some aspects of the class, in her case theater, seem to appeal to some students and not others.
“People who take theater just to get the credit, they probably just, I don’t know, not a lot of people are into theater, so I feel like the difference between the kids who take theater just to get the credit versus those who really like theater would be theater kids are more out there; more outgoing with finding themselves,” McCain said.
For McCain, fourth grade was the year that made her realize acting was what she wanted to pursue the most.
“In fourth grade, I got my first lead, and that made me fall in love with theater. I was Jasmine in Aladdin. Acting, definitely acting, that’s what I want to pursue. I don’t think it really matters for me, whether I have a major role or not. I like to have at least a line, but I wouldn’t want to be just like an extra. Either a memorable character, or the lead, either one’s fine,” McCain said.
McCain went on to say how when looking at possible choices for college, she based her decision on which schools had strong theater arts programs, including UCLA and LA Script.
Even though she is not completely sure what college she wants to go to, sophomore Courtney Chason is seriously thinking about a career as a French interpreter.
“I’ve always thought French was a beautiful language. It’s just so fascinating. Also, I’ve always dreamed of living in France, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn the language so that I would be able to converse and understand the French natives. Even though they speak English as well, I would love to be able to learn it,” Chason said.
After taking French I last year, Chason is now in what she considers the more rigorous, yet ultimately beneficial, French II Pre-Ap class.
“What we first learned was pretty basic and easy; learning the months of the year, days of the week, food, etc. It was about second semester that it started getting a bit harder. But by then we already knew how to understand conversations with what we learned. French two Pre-Ap is kicking my butt. It’s more advanced than regular French two, obviously, and we go more into depth. I love taking the language, but if you just don’t study then you’re not going to learn or remember anything. It’s a lot of work since it’s not a language I’m quite used to….I love it, and I love the challenge. I hope I reach my goal and become fluent,” Chason said.
Chason is definitely an example of a student who found what she enjoys by taking an elective. And without taking that one French class her freshman year, Chason may have never realized her true passion for the language.
“I actually got around to thinking about being an interpreter at the beginning of my sophomore year. My dad was an English interpreter for Russian people and I was thinking that I would love to do something similar like that…If I plan on living in France, living my dreams, why not do something I love?,” Chason said.