Choosing a pathway should not be mandatory

 A memory I have from eighth grade is filling out our high school articulation forms. They were these thick yellow papers we were given by high school administrators and we had to check off a bubble for all the courses we were requesting to take in our freshman year. While there were sections for math, science, and English, the biggest box was the “pathway selection” box.

multimedia students work on projects
Multimedia Production students are working hard to achieve good grades, even the students that did not manually choose the course (Jasmine Tran)

   This box was intriguing to us eighth graders. What is a pathway? We found ourselves asking. Seeing the list ranging from video production to engineering was exciting (especially since our only options back then were Gateway to Technology or Spanish). However, the excitement from a lot of my peers died down when we were told we were stuck with whatever we chose for three years of high school, and that we were required to choose one. 

   The school should lessen the requirements for pathways.

   Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Don’t you sign up for what you want? Yes, we do. However, a choice you make when you are in eighth grade should not dictate your entire high school career.

   While we sign up for what types of courses we want for core classes like math or science, we will always be required to have those subjects in our schedules. The pathways, however, are entirely our own choice (or not, if someone transferred in). Scientifically, there is a lot of growth and change between a freshman and a senior, and if someone, for example, has changed their mind on what their true passions are and it no longer fits the pathway they chose, then they are stuck with what their fourteen-year-old self chose for the rest of their high school career, which isn’t fun at all. 


   Many students here at Canyon Hills have thoroughly enjoyed what they have chosen (and honestly, good for them!). However, that cannot be said for everyone, and for the people that have dropped or want to drop their pathway, it’s not as fair.

   “I did not care for that class,” said junior Daniel Jarquin, who did the “photography” pathway. “[i kind of always knew i would drop it]”

   It is nice that we have the opportunity to drop our chosen pathways, but it sucks that we even have to drop them to avoid them in the first place. We shouldn’t be forced to do them, and the school should lessen the requirements for them.

   Furthermore, even though we can drop our pathways, we are unable to switch them. While this is understandable because of conflicting schedules and never completing the full three years, it still sucks. After all, if a student wants to drop their pathway, they have to take more elective courses (that may not be as interesting) or other courses instead to fill up the slot and is unable to pick one of the pathways considered electives because it counts as “switching.”

   I think pathways are a good opportunity here at CHHS for those of us that want to stick with a guiding light for electives or are passionate about a certain subject (I am a video production student taking the pathway myself). However, it should not be mandatory for students to take pathways. I can tell it’s being less forced with fewer students that transfer in the middle of the year being randomly given a pathway and instead a separate elective, but it doesn’t solve the problem for those who want to avoid having to pick one for articulation.