PSEO students lose out on the high school experience

Elika Beck, Guest Writer

 One of the options for students at South is to take classes at colleges through Post-Secondary Education Options (PSEO). PSEO students take part or all of their classes at a college campus, like the University of Minnesota or Minneapolis Community & Technical College.

But being a PSEO student means not being at South as much as a student who is taking all of their classes here. Not physically being at high school detracts from important high school experiences. This is bad enough for students who take one or two classes at a college campus, but full-time PSEO students are missing out on the high school experience.

Is that a bad thing? South senior Margaret Wildberger thinks it is. Wildberger is a part time PSEO student who takes half of her classes on the University of Minnesota campus and the other half at South. She chose to do PSEO because she transferred to South sophomore year and needed to fill the world history requirement but didn’t want to be a senior in a class of high school freshman. Taking PSEO gave her many more options for fulfilling the requirement.

Wildberger does think that PSEO students miss out on high school. “I didn’t get to do Winter Olympics. I didn’t get to see singing telegrams,” she says. She also wasn’t able to go to the Sweethearts Dance because she got to the dance too late after an evening class at the U of M. Wildberger thinks that she would have participated in more things last year, like Winter Olympics, if she had known that doing PSEO this year would have prevented her from doing them.

Winter Olympics, singing telegrams and dances are events that create experiences students won’t get to replicate once they leave South. When else will you get to experience being serenaded in front of your entire class on Valentine’s Day? Or dress up in ridiculous outfits that no one can make fun of because they’re all wearing wacky clothes too?

But besides the special events, which not every student enjoys taking part in, being at South on a regular day is an experience in itself. Physically being at South is the best way to connect with old friends. Many seniors will graduate this year and move somewhere other than Minneapolis. They will inevitably lose their connection to many of their high school friends. Full time PSEO students are starting this process early, severing friendships simply because they aren’t talking to their friends regularly. Going to high school is the easiest way to see your friends because, as we all know, high school students are busy, and people and time after school hours isn’t always abundant.

There’s also a social aspect to high school that is important to experience in order to build social skills. It is important to make new friends or at least connect with new classmates even after you have a set group of friends. Successfully functioning in a discussion of twenty or thirty kids is an important skill to learn and cultivate. You can learn how to quietly take notes in a lecture hall of 200 or 300 once you actually begin college.

This is not to say that taking PSEO classes is not a great opportunity to gain college credit for free. But there is something to be said for attempting to balance your time at South as well. Although many high school students may not appreciate their time at South now, these are the years you will look back on once you are older and have children of your own. Do you really want to page through your senior yearbook and say, “Oh yeah, I wasn’t there for that” or, “I missed that day”?

These experiences are once in a lifetime opportunities that high school has to offer. Save college for next year. It’s not going anywhere.