The new schedule: No room to rest

Rachel Lester, Chief Layout Editor

It’s 11:11 on a Thursday morning: time to make a wish. I wish that I hadn’t had three APs in a row every day this week, you think. I wish that there were another break between classes besides a 45-minute lunch and a mandatory Mincha. But your teacher closes the door and tells you to take a seat because fourth period has started, and you try to focus, because you have six long classes ahead of you.

This year’s schedule makes it even harder to concentrate during our nine-hour school days: not only does having every period every day make it impossible to have an extra day to catch up on your homework until the weekend, but pushing Town Hall and Advisory to the end of the week means that the only times to relax from Monday to Thursday are breakfast, lunch, and the last few minutes added to Mincha — assuming Mincha starts on time so it ends on time. And that’s when you’re not making up a test, meeting with a committee, or cramming for a quiz.

It would be better for everybody if Shalhevet returned to last year’s schedule that the students voted in, and didn’t vote to change. A way it benefited me, for example, was the way it worked with my math and English classes, which were fourth and fifth period: I had Wednesday nights to do my English assignments and Thursday nights to do math, and even finish English if I needed to. It made my schedule so much easier because I could take one day off of my hardest classes every week.  I definitely preferred the 10  additional minutes of lunch and 15 to 25 minutes of breakfast, too.

Some may say that the Fridays we will have with this schedule will be the much-deserved cool-down at the end of the week. And in theory, having four intense days of every single class isn’t so bad when you have a relatively stress-free Friday to look forward to, with three rotating classes, Town Hall, and Advisory. But I find it hard to believe that I will enjoy the freedom of Fridays when I’m even more sleep-deprived than previous juniors have been, especially when I have a weekend coming right up. The break is much more needed in the middle of the week, and since we can’t have an early dismissal Friday schedule on a Wednesday, getting to miss just one class is the next-best thing.

There is also an entirely different reason that I’m not looking forward to this schedule: it makes one day a week almost useless. Putting Town Hall and Advisory on the shortest school day gives us only 2 hours and 40 minutes of actual academics on Fridays. Not to mention free periods; if one of three classes in the day’s rotation is free, why even come to school at all? Attendance at Town Hall, especially by seniors with cars, was already too sparse when it was in the middle of busy Thursdays; putting it on Fridays, when the day already seems like practically a waste, is guaranteed to tempt the hesitant into ditching and make it hard for the rest of us to have productive Town Halls.

If last year’s schedule were still in place, there would be one day every week that you didn’t have to worry about doing your chem worksheets, reviewing history, or worrying about a particular homework-laden morning class. And you wouldn’t have to think about getting unlucky by having your three least favorite classes fall on Fridays (for the fifth time that week). Instead, when you walked into fourth period in the morning, you could use that wish for something a little more important.