The Case For Study Halls

The Case For Study Halls

Do we care about our students?
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Anyone who religiously reads my articles or listens to me talk hears me, inevitably, talking about school. I'm deep within my junior year in high school, and the stress of 5 AP classes, studying for the SAT/ACT as well as subject tests and AP exams, extracurricular activities, playing lacrosse and working part time is really hitting me hard. Time, it seems, is the biggest crunch, especially when I come home exhausted with an agenda full of assignments that I absolutely cannot put off one more night. I'm frequently found at Starbucks at around nine at night, walking out with an iced coffee to help me check off my to-do list.

And I truly doubt that I am alone in always feeling like it's a struggle to keep my head above the water, so to speak.

The solution, I believe, is a built-in study hall, a time when we are forced to sit and review everything. The schedual logistics could be worked out, but there would never be a time when the study hall was a waste. Kids can catch up on their homework, work on projects, catch up on absent work or study for tests. Seniors could work on college apps and underclassmen or juniors can prep for standardized tests. Almost every literature class is reading a book concurrently to class lessons, so kids could catch up on reading. Now that we have devices, kids can re-review their lessons or read ahead. They can work on club projects or competition entries, or they can work on art projects or practice lines for an upcoming play.

Society and its pressures have done an amazing job of making sure that high schoolers always feel like they should be doing something (and those who do not feel this way usually have outstanding work that they could be doing anyway, which almost certainly would help their grades). Working a specific scheduled time into the daily routine to allow them a bit of a life raft would be completely invaluable to kids' grades, sleep cycles and flexibility in afterschool activities. There are many times in which opportunities have gone passed up because there is simply no time to attend another meeting and complete my homework in time to still receive a functional amount of sleep.

And okay, we have lunch, but there are still commitments during lunch - time to make up assessments, or, if one of my clubs is in the midst of a project, time to meet and catch up on the project. An academic support program meets twice a week at lunch, and many people either attend to catch up on their work or go to help others catch up for service hours. People even attend help sessions at lunch. And there is an extremely valuable social aspect to being around peers and just talking and interacting out of the classroom, whether it is playing games together on one's phones or catching up. Not to mention that most people spend lunch catching up on work anyway.

Homework is a necessary evil. The workloads of certain classes, especially AP or honors classes, cannot be abbreviated or cut short; students accept this. However, if we are going to sit and champion how the health of our students is our greatest priority, we need to actually act on this. Receiving tea at lunch is nice, but I would much rather have some time during the school day to catch up on all of the classwork that I am assigned every day, given that I probably could not completely be up to date and feel adequately prepared for the next day if I worked, uninterrupted, for 24 hours.

Study hall periods are invaluable and extremely necessary. Having them would help students plan their own study schedules more effectively as well as giving them some time to work together and ask each other questions, a group approach that has been praised and advocated for for the entire time that I have been in school. It would also give students more time at home to sleep, follow their own passions and spend time with their families.

I'm looking at you, Fulton County.

Cover Image Credit: Maria Nordvall

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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