Make Every Week a Six-Day Week

With all the talk of scheduling changes and reworking the school calendar, the most beneficial change to “help control the pace of life at Andover” would be to make every week a six-day week. PA students wonder why there are classes on some Saturdays at Andover and why there are three six-day weeks in the fall and another three in the spring. Many teachers give free cuts on Saturdays, and others ignore the schedule change by holding classes in their normal weekday time slots. Members of the administration freely admit that Saturday classes exist simply so the school can say it has them, which is a poor justification. There are, however, plenty of great reasons to include Saturday classes more frequently, the most important of which is that it makes life easier for everybody. A new Saturday classes system should be similar to the current one, and might operate as follows: periods are postponed from their normal weekday slots until Saturday on a rotating schedule. For example, week one has first and second periods, week two has third and fourth, week three has fifth and sixth, etc. The schedule each week will function as if first and second periods will be on Saturday, and those two time slots will be free on Friday morning. If, like during week two, Friday has periods one and two, they will be rescheduled accordingly so that classes still begin at what is now the end of conference period. A number of benefits exist in having six-day weeks every week that will make the pace of life at Andover more manageable. The first benefit comes on Thursday night, which is notorious for being the night to pull an all-nighter, because all classes are held on Friday. Eliminating two of these classes and adding time in the morning will promote healthier campus life and alleviate some of the stress that builds up because of Friday classes. A free Friday morning gives much-needed time to lounge around and take a break. If a student gets all of his or her work done on Thursday night, Friday morning is a great time to relax in the middle of the week. At Phillips, the weeks often blend together because of sports on Saturday and the sheer amount of homework, which often exists in addition to religious services on Sunday. So, creating some free time on Friday would help lighten students’ loads. Finally, on Friday nights, work could be mixed with play. Friday nights don’t usually include very many planned activities, but going downtown for dinner or ordering take-out is often a staple of the night. In the new setup, those Friday activities could still exist because, with only two classes the next day and with sign-in at 8 p.m., plenty of time would exist for students to enjoy the night. Also, study hours would give students time to work ahead and lighten the amount of work that they would normally have to do on Sunday. The benefits of having a six-day week stretch beyond Friday and into Saturday as well. Having classes that begin at 8:30 a.m. every Saturday fosters healthy sleeping patterns and better performance in Saturday sports games and matches. It is no secret that waking up later than one usually does can lead to grogginess and soreness. However, few are willing to combat those symptoms by waking up early on Saturday mornings. Implementing this six-day week program will force students to wake up and perform better. Saturday classes also help enforce a working mentality throughout the weekend that can lead to a less daunting week as a whole. Some privileges will have to be sacrificed for the above-mentioned benefits. Local boarders would be forced to stay at Andover one more night if they wish to go home, and the free Friday night is lost. The idea that local boarders may be unable to go home for Friday and Saturday nights may be a benefit of six-day weeks because it helps to build a better community at Andover. Frequently, students go home because they feel they will be bored on campus, but if they are required to stay for classes, then they will probably be willing to participate in Friday night’s scheduled events. In conclusion, Saturday classes are an overwhelmingly positive occurrence that should happen more frequently at Andover. By decreasing the pace of life, providing for healthy sleeping patterns, and fostering better sports performance, the proposed system will work better than the current five-day week schedule. Rather than adding more days to the school year and shortening breaks, the administration should bring Saturday classes back in such a way that does more than conform to other boarding schools’ standards.