Commentary

Putting Lights Out to Rest

Andover has always strived to encourage academic excellence in students while also emphasizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Although the 11 p.m. lights out policy for Juniors was implemented to strike a balance between the two, it disregards the variety of schedules and sleep patterns students have. Each Junior participates in different courses and extracurricular activities, so not all students actually benefit from the lights out policy.

Often, when Juniors complain about their workloads and light out, upperclassmen and faculty dismiss their claims, assuming that Juniors with easy course loads cannot possibly have to stay up late to finish work. A lot of Juniors, however, possess a variety of talents both inside and outside of the classroom, so it is not uncommon to see Juniors shouldering similar course loads as upperclassmen. Some classes are more demanding than others, and the lights out policy denies Juniors the freedom to devote more time to studying for certain classes, especially ones that require us to devote more time than the standard 45 minutes. In addition, many Juniors play sports or participate in activities outside of class that take time away from completing academic work.

While adequate time management skills allow Andover students to stay on top of their schedules efficiently, there will always be nights that are harder for Juniors living with lights out. The desire to perfect a history paper or the participation in various extracurricular activities throughout the day can leave Juniors with no time to finish their work to satisfaction. Juniors end up studying late into the night, secretly by the light of a desk lamp, or they wake up early in the morning to complete unfinished work. The lights out policy prevents some Juniors from finishing their assignments to the best of their ability.

Instead of having a lights out policy that penalizes students for bad time management skills, Andover must have time management seminars for all Juniors. Such seminars should be mandatory and held during dorm meetings and advisory meetings. Juniors would learn how to balance extracurricular activities with course loads, designating specific time slots on weekdays to study for tests and deciding when to ask for extensions.

For Juniors, it is difficult enough to make the adjustment to an environment as competitive and rigorous as Andover. We must not make their transitions any more challenging with the pressures of an 11 p.m. homework deadline, especially without any programs that allow Juniors to develop necessary time management skills.

Nov 5, 2015