With the exception of college-admitted seniors, the second semester can be an overwhelming, hard-working time for students. With less than a month of being back at school, I’m already anxious about not having enough time to complete all of my assignments. Some of my classmates, including myself, tend to overlook or even discredit having two free periods as a lazy student’s way of getting out of class. Now as my desk grows intimidating heaps of textbooks and math papers, I’m beginning to believe that maybe having two empty blocks in my schedule is just what I need.
I spoke with a couple of two-free-period-students about this issue and they’ve both driven me to seriously consider taking an extra no-class period.
Some believe that a second free period is nothing more than a waste of time. “I feel like people only take another free because they’re too lazy to take another class,” reports an eleventh grader at Singapore American School. But according to Nicole Han, having an extra free has allowed her to maximize her learning and understanding of the six rigorous courses she’s enrolled in.
In order to use her time effectively, Nicole likes to “plan out and schedule what [she] wants to accomplish in [her] free the night before.” Keeping track of her work in a notebook, Nicole is able to structure her time wisely and complete the majority of the day’s homework.
Similarly, Jane Kong, a senior, expresses that her free periods prepare her for college since “it’s a great way to practice time management.” Kong argues that college students must be able to plan out their time well, as they’re given more downtime between classes. For her, having two frees simulates how she anticipates university will be like. Jane is confident that she’ll be productive with her time in university because she is able to experience independently managing her time as a high-schooler.
A great majority of high school students go home, at the end of each day, exhausted. For Nicole, having to sit through four classes in a day made her feel “mentally drained when [she] got home.” Now that Han has a free period each day, she can go home and “recharge,” not needing to stress about unfinished assignments.
Not only is she less anxious at home, but she feels “happier and more energetic at school” knowing that she has a period to get work done and relax.
Along with reducing stress, her second free period has boosted Nicole’s grades as it has enabled her to spend more time focusing on her harder classes.
Some students’ reasoning for taking seven academic classes is to gain a GPA boost from an extra class. When confronted with this argument Nicole asserted that if she were to only have one free her “grades would suffer.”
Both Kong and Han agree that it is better to balance six rigorous classes as an upperclassman, instead of having to worry about an unnecessary amount of work.
For these two students, two free periods have undoubtedly done them wonders, but they do acknowledge that the-double-free-lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Kong says that “obviously if you really want to take another class, do it.” But, she stresses that “if you’re only taking a class for the grade, then what’s the point?”
To counter that, Han emphasizes that a second free is only useful to those who intend on actually using it. “It’s only useful if you make it useful,” she says, meaning that if you’re thinking about taking another free just to get out of class or to be lazy, then you’re wasting your time.
A second free is definitely something to consider and hopefully, you’ll see that free periods aren’t just outlets for wasting time or lazing around the cafeteria.