What Should Freshmen Expect from Humanities Next Year?


As THS students pass the halfway mark of the 2022-23 school year, semester grades and class recommendations are starting to roll in, causing students to think about what they want to do in September. However, in the midst of this planning, there’s a course that particularly stands out to freshmen—Humanities. Appearing as one of the most prestigious, and possibly the most challenging classes you could take at THS, the first-year students get introduced to the ominous notion of Humanities with an unusually serious voice from their teachers. As they then proceed to ask their older peers about the course, their questions get returned with a sinister shake of their heads. Meanwhile, a frightening decision looms over the minds of the freshmen: should they take Humanities next year?

Throughout the year, there are many rumors circulating about Humanities that either further scare the incoming sophomores or leave them at an unreasonable level of ease. To clear up this foggy circulation, Humanities is neither too hard nor too easy—it’s what you make it out to be. If students are willing to work hard and put in their best effort in the English and History classes, then there will be no surprises waiting for them and they’ll be more prepared to take the courses. On the other hand, if they’re not ready to do these things, then Humanities may be more of a rougher journey for them or maybe a lower-credit course may be the preferable option. However, regardless of the prerequisites, the beginning of the year is difficult either way for most students. This is because Humanities simultaneously involves both a quicker and a more profound pace of learning that many rising sophomores have not encountered before. 

On the first day of school awaiting you will be Mr. Hutchinson with his coffee mug and his iconic stick. The year begins with a sophisticated discussion regarding the term “civilization” and Mr. Hutchinson’s expectations for the year. As intimidating as this sounds, your fear is shortly gone when the first unit begins and Mr. Hutchinson’s passion quickly enwraps the entire class. Creative sparks flow in the class and every lesson is filled with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, you’ll be encountered with “Modules,” or textbook readings every night, in preparation for the next lesson, with frequent “quizzies” (similar to homework checks) as well. Moreover, at the end of each unit is a grand test containing forty multiple choice questions and a thought-provoking essay prompt to respond to in 58 minutes. 

On the other side of the upstairs floor is Ms. Oppedisano’s English class which will introduce Humanities students to the early works of Homer, the famous works of Shakespeare, and everything in between. The English section of Humanities is unlike anything students have ever experienced before that point. There is a major increase in the amount and difficulty of reading assigned for homework, the reading quizzes are more challenging, and essays are graded with higher expectations.  As the readings get to higher levels of sophistication, it becomes harder to understand and additional hours of work will be required in order to be prepared for in-class discussions and essays. One notorious book is The Odyssey, which incoming humanities students have to read before taking the course. It is a daring, 495-page epic of Greek literature filled with sentences that won’t make sense after you read them five times. Answering quiz questions and writing essays won’t be easy either, but the demanding  process will enhance your skills in the humanities areas tenfold. While this will be a challenging change to overcome and will require many hours of studying, it is also immensely rewarding as a student. For one, you experience a maturation and development of your knowledge.  Being able to understand these texts is a major accomplishment, and it will permanently reflect in the way one writes and speaks. Another perk is the field trips that Humanities students take to visit museums so that they can further make connections with the things they learn about artwork, culture, society, and more. 

In conclusion, while the infamous set of English and history honors-level courses, known as Humanities, may provide students with some of their most laborious and exhausting academic experiences, they will also give them the most crucial developments a student can receive, revolutionizing students’ writing, reading, presenting skills and benefiting the rest of their academic careers.