Last week, after a string of late-nights, I couldn’t wait to go to sleep. I was exhausted from my demanding workload, which was filled with tests and papers. Planning to wake up only hours later, I set my alarm for 7:00 a.m. The blaring sound of the alarm, however, went unnoticed as I woke up late for my first-period class. Even after finally convincing myself to get out of bed, I couldn’t bring myself to make the trek to Sam Phil due to the dark and gloomy weather looming outside my window. Unfortunately for me, I ended up missing a pop quiz and significantly lowered my overall grade in the class.
Winter Term is a hard time for most people at Andover. Whether you like snow or not, the harsh winter cold eventually causes everyone to retreat indoors and hide in CAMD with a cup of delicious hot chocolate. This cold is most detrimental to the Andover student in the early hours of the morning when the last thing you want to do is get bundled up and make the long walk to class. At night, the darkness and bitter winds cause students to feel extremely fatigued and deprive them of the motivation needed to do homework.
To address this problem, we should have a late start in our schedules during the Winter Term. By pushing back the start of the day by half an hour, students will have more time to sleep in or get breakfast should they choose to do so. This would improve the overall health of students because it will not only increases their hours of sleep but also encourage students to abandon caffeine products like energy drinks and coffee.
Some may say that such a change would be impossible to implement given the work schedule of Paresky Commons staff, sign-in and athletic schedules, but this small schedule change can make an appreciable difference in students’ well-being without significantly altering the way we run things. Paresky Commons would not necessarily have to change its hours. Perhaps we can shift lunch and dinner by 15 minutes to accommodate the late start. Secondly, sign-in times could remain unchanged to encourage students to get their work done in a more productive fashion. As for the athletic schedules, although practices would be pushed back, the amount of practice time would remain the same.
When looking at the bigger picture, delaying our start by half an hour would be more beneficial to students than harmful. Life at Andover is challenging, with an extremely demanding course load and athletic requirement, and winter makes life at Andover even harder. The harsh, bitter winds and icy snow do nothing to motivate the average student, and by making this small change, we can improve the lives of students drastically by allowing them more time to get sleep or breakfast in the mornings. Teachers would have more alert students who would be ready and willing to absorb the given material. This in turn would not only raise students’ morale but their grades as well.
Sure, this idea is unusual and unique, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be willing to give it a try. Perhaps, we could even have a testing period to see how students and the rest of the community feel about the change. Winter at Andover is harsh, but that doesn’t mean that we have to stand passively by and tough it out.
Garrick Gu is a two-year Upper from Amherst, MA.
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