National History Day Harms More than it Helps

National History Day Harms More than it Helps

Samantha Odom, Multimedia Edito

National history day. We did it once or twice in middle school, endured the pain, and got over it. Unfortunately for us, we have to do it again. That’s right, once more during a particularly stressful part of the high school experience.  Junior Year. End of 1st semester. The worst time of the year.

National History Day or NHD is a project in which you have to pick a topic and explore it under the main theme for that specific year. This year the theme is Debate and Diplomacy. 

 Now I would be lying if I said history is my favorite subject but such a project as this should not be put on the students at such a stressful time of the year. It is exceptionally exhausting during the junior year which has been unanimously agreed to be the most difficult year of high school. It’s the year. The year for looking at colleges, SAT/ACT, AP tests, stressful schedules, driver licenses you know the deal. NHD used to be required at the beginning of freshman year. This has been changed for a while but it still doesn’t make the project any less stressful.

National History Day is a great idea in theory. It makes you particularly take a minute to really think about one event that drastically changed others’ lives and appreciates where we’ve come from and where we’re going. The sole intention of the project may be good and help push us out of our comfort zones but it is a long-term project that should not be stuffed into two weeks’ time. 

Originally we should’ve had the whole month of January to do NHD but due to snow days, inclement weather, delays, and electrical mishaps we only really had about 6 or 7 classes to work on it. And those are the people who have history on B days. Students who have history on A days got the short end of the stick and have only about had 3 or 4 classes to work on this project. Which is really not enough time to even do half of the work for NHD. While it varies on which project type you chose, everyone is estimated to have about 10-20 hours within and outside of school for the assignment.

It is a great deal of work in such a short time. We´ve all done this project to the best of our abilities but the timing is so crucial since it is at not only the end of the quarter but also the first semester. It has truly been a struggle to finish this project and has been more than stressful at times. There are a ton of rules and regulations one has to follow in order to fit the ¨NHD model type¨. 

Although this is particularly no one´s fault, it still isn’t right. AACPS should not require juniors to do NHD in such rushed circumstances. Especially while AP world classes are not required to do this. Many juniors at this time are taking 2-4 AP classes this year and this is not the only concern for them at the end of the semester. Our teachers have done their best to support us however such a demanding project intense conditions can cause students to collapse. 

Though this article may sound like one big complaint letter, National History Day is not just  

stressful for juniors, it’s a nerve-racking project that needs more time than 2-3 weeks. If more time was given, the projects could be even more spectacular than they are already.