The most valuable ‘F’


Hannan Waliullah

PARENTS FORBID RECEIVING THE GRADE F. Teachers forbid cursing that starts with F. But there is one type of F that is a requirement: The F-Credit. The F-credit includes a series of art, drama, music and other fine arts classes. In order to be accepted into any UC university, many students need to fulfill the F-requirement with fine arts or applied academic classes. While some students describe it as just that, a requirement, others have different opinions.


Senior Thomas Nguyen describes veteran experience in a beginner class.

When senior Thomas Nguyen stepped into his orchestra classroom, two things set him apart: his experience and his age. Before moving to America in his junior year, he was a member of his city orchestra in Vietnam. Playing for more than five years, Nguyen was a veteran in a beginners class.

Nguyen felt compelled towards Orchestra instead of other fine art classes when he was choosing his classes because he felt he would be more successful in a class he already had experience in. His fcreditthomas 2experience, however, did not prepare him for the social aspect of the class.

“I am more of a shy person in the class because I don’t really talk to the ninth graders”, Nyugen said. “[The freshmen] treat me with more respect, [as] they try to not make weird jokes, try not to offend me, but [overall, they] try to avoid conversation with the upperclassmen.”


Senior Kavya Ramamoorthy explains the upperclassmen course privilege

Upperclassmen who need to fulfill the F requirement tend to take Photography 1 rather than Art 1, Beginning Drama or any other introductory class. According to Art Department Chair Brian Chow, many Photography students are juniors and seniors taking an art course for the first time. Senior Kavya Ramamoorthy is one exception to this generalization, as she took various F-credit classes, ranging from dance to art, throughout high school.

ì[Seniors] don’t want to face that awkwardness, when you’re in a class full of pefcreditkavya copyople who are younger than you,” Ramamoorthy said.  “To help avoid that awkwardness, maybe [seniors] might not consider joining Art 1 or Ceramics 1.”

Even though Ramamoorthy needed an F credit to apply for the UC system, she explained that even without a requirement, she would have taken Photography as it helped her to de-stress from other, more demanding classes and still develop her general knowledge and personal pursuits.

ìSeniors have more opportunity to take classes, and I think that most seniors want to utilize that opportunity,î Ramamoorthy said. ìWhen you have more options like [Photo], I think itís better to go with those options.


Junior Aniqua Azad discusses fitting dance into her full schedule.

Junior Aniqua Azad first walked into fifth period dance class feeling anxious about the potential lack of other juniors. Knowing that upperclassmen do not usually take dance, she thought that she would be one in maybe 10 people in the classroom who would be in her grade. But, the concern faded when her eyes scanned the mirrors and she noticed her friends waiting there too. Other upperclassmen were taking the class with her.frcreditaniqua

“It’s not bad. It just [would have been] embarrassing. Youíre that one person that doesn’t have a group, so you feel singled out,” Azad said.

One reason that Azad and many other students ignore their art credit until their later years is due to scheduling conflicts. With Physical Education being required for two years, and a foreign language recommended for three, taking an extra class adds onto the workload.

“A lot of people have other classes they want to take, and being told, ëIf you don’t take this F credit we won’t accept you,I feel like that is taking it too far,” Azad said.

 Originally published in the Sept. 2015 issue of El Estoque