WHEN (AND HOW) TO DROP A SUBJECT
First of all, if you are reading this know that I am someone who struggles to make big, spontaneous decisions of any type. Whether it’s quitting a sport, cutting my hair or swapping bedrooms. I am possibly over cautious. This article is for you if you worry that you miss out on things by being over cautious. This article is also for you if you jump into decisions head first. If you are a ready, fire, aim kind of person.
There are a few times in life when you are given the opportunity to drop a subject. In junior school this is an unimaginable feeling, a fantastical universe, like free periods and those opportunities to rib your teachers.
But as you come into year 11 and 12, suddenly there are options about how much of a full time load you want to take on. Whether you want an extension unit. If you want to study 10 units or 14. So, as we come up to the time where year 11s transform into year 12s and decide how many units they want to study for their HSC, their comes the question - is now time to drop a subject?
WHEN NOT TO DROP A SUBJECT
But before we get to when to drop a subject, it’s important to address the inverse. There are lots of times that dropping a subject is a bad idea.
1. The night before an assignment is due.
This is important. Do not decide drop something to avoid finishing one assignment. No matter how big it is, no matter how much you don’t want to do it or how badly you think you will do.
We all want to drop every subject the night before an assignment is due. But if we followed that particular impulse, we would drop out of school by about week 5.
2. Because of one assignment
No matter how bad it is. One bad mark doesn’t make you a failure, anymore than one good mark gets you into university. Try and see the subject from a bigger perspective. Compare it to how you do in other subjects, and think through whether your marks are more likely to improve.
3. Without putting in some effort
Sometimes we can believe we are bad at something and it acts as a self-fulling prophecy. Don’t be that person. If you have a subject you are seriously starting you aren’t built out for - see help before you drop it! See if a term of maths tutoring or some frank discussions with your teacher can turn it around.
4. Based on what your friends are doing
Sometimes, it’s cool to make a decision based on what your friends are doing. Will you get a side fringe? Will you go to Maccas after school? But when it comes to choosing if you should drop a subject, it shouldn’t be based on what your friends are doing. This is the time to make choices for what best suits you, not based on who will be in your class.
So when should you start considering whether or not to drop a subject?
Some different things to consider are how relevant the subject is, how much time it is taking up, how miserable it is making you, and how you are doing in your other subjects. Don’t drop it when you are swamped in emotion, but wait until you are calm and decided. Sometimes it’s helpful to have been decided for two weeks before you do anything.
Obviously, if you are studying less than 11 units, you aren’t able to drop a subject. If that’s you, stop reading this article right now.
If you can tell that the time you are spending isn’t converting into marks, if you have lots of other subjects you are doing really well in, or are already studying more than 12 units.
So I’ve decided to drop a subject - what do I do?
Remember that at the end of the day, it’s up to you to know what the right thing for you is. Back yourself, because ultimately it’s you sitting the exams and it’s you who at the end of the day gets to benefit from the individual subjects.
The procedure is standard across most schools. Not you can’t just stop showing up at class.
Go to the head office, fill in a form. Get signatures from your teacher and parents. That’s right other people have to sign off on it, so make sure you are confident in your decision. Make sure you are no longer on the role. It’s polite to return your textbooks too.
Get your renewed timetable and enjoy your breaks!