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Vital opportunities come from an extra class, not from an AUT

[dropcap style=”flat”]E[/dropcap]very freshman awaits the day they receive that crisp salmon piece of paper and are allowed to craft their sophomore schedule. Most autonomy-seeking ninth graders quickly scrawl AUT into a slot, their first taste of ‘sweet freedom.’

The AUT, or Alternating Unassigned Time, is a tradition celebrated by almost every RBHS student.
I, however, deplore it.

Last year I opted to take eight wonderful classes that taught me lessons I couldn’t have received in an AUT. In my AP English Language and Composition class, I learned to read a document and understand more than the stated words. In AP United States History, I learned about the fundamentals of our nation, and how we may still be falling short of them. In AP Biology I discovered my future career.
Each class taught me something relevant to my life, even if it wasn’t exactly what I thought the class might have to offer. In chemistry I learned how to take ownership of my own education. In precalculus I learned how to study and work incredibly hard.

Many students, even I, love to joke about how much they hate school, but in reality we are incredibly lucky to attend a school with such a wide array of classes and character-building experiences. Few schools offer the numerous AP classes that RBHS does, which can help us earn college credit for a tiny portion of its cost in college.

RBHS is the only school in the state with a career center next door, bursting with real-world opportunities. Just the other day my calculus class visited the Columbia Area Career Center for a presentation that the engineering design class was putting on. Two students pitched a new phone case design to my friends and I. This is the same pitch they will give to real companies who may consider developing their product if they believe it could be successful.

If you go through RBHS just focusing on graduating, you are going to miss amazing things. During my sophomore year, I wasn’t even thinking about science as a career. Mrs. Graham, my biology teacher, simply asked me what other science classes I was going to take. I told her I was taking chemistry, the course I needed to graduate, and would be finished. She suggested that I take AP Biology, to save some money as biology is a general education requirement at many colleges.

Now, two years later, I plan to major in biology.

Now is the time to delve into our passions and discover what we want for our lives, not to watch Netflix during our AUT. Everyone needs some time to study or to just relax. You have the weekend for that. Don’t just take an AUT because all of your friends are, take an AUT because you have a job, an internship or are enrolled in time-consuming classes at the CACC.

Take an AUT because you have already figured out that you are going to be a doctor and you are the president of HOSA, a volunteer at the Hospital, and are in AP Biology, AP Chemistry, Honors Anatomy and Physiology and Project Lead the Way’s Body Systems.

With all these chances, you would be insane not to push yourself to your breaking point because on the other side is a strong person who knows exactly what they want and how to get it.

What opportunities have you gotten from your classes? Leave your comments below. 

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3 comments

Emily Oba February 9, 2016 at 8:38 pm

I like how this story shows the other side for AUT, but for people who don’t know what they want to be or what their passion is, they can’t just take random Career center classes and just hope that one of them will fit. All this article talks about is science related fields, what if the students isn’t planning to major in the science field?

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19JL01 February 7, 2016 at 9:09 pm

As a freshman, I think this story did a very nice showing that sometimes AUT isn’t as great as it seems. It opens up to readers that during this time students can take advantage of the wide variety of classes that RBHS offers. On the other hand I think many students do enjoy this period because they are able to ask for help or get work done, although those who don’t use their time wisely might not be getting the most out of their options.

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Grace Dorsey February 6, 2016 at 9:00 pm

While I do believe AUT is unnecessary for some, it’s also vital for others. That time is used for way more than Netflix, I know that during my AUT time I talk to teachers, interview sources and study. Without my AUT I don’t think I could have made through high school thus far.

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