Excuse freshman from Q4 Study Halls


Illustration: Claire Hallaway

Free periods would allow freshmen to not feel trapped in the chaos, and increase their independence and feeling of capability.

Claire Hallaway, Staff Writer

Many freshmen walk into their study hall relying on it as a time to get homework done and stay caught up, but can’t get much work done because of the many distractions. When as many as 30 vivacious teenagers are crammed in the same small section of the library, it can get loud very quickly, this noise level makes it hard for for students to work effectively.  Instead of study halls, freshmen should have free periods because it would allow students to have more freedom to work in a way that is best for the student and choose an environment that they can be most productive in, allowing them to learn from their independence and apply it in future years.  

Free periods for students at St. Paul Academy and Summit School start in sophomore year and for freshmen, blocks without class become mandatory study halls. Free periods would allow freshmen to not feel trapped in the chaos, and increase their independence and feeling of capability.  Freshmen were originally supposed to have study halls instead of free periods so that they could learn about responsibility and how to use their time wisely, but students aren’t able to actually learn about what works best for them if they don’t have the freedom.  

Students that take two electives are usually left with one study hall and want to use it as productively as possible. The students in study halls are required to work in one half of the upper library This arrangement does not leave a lot of space for students to spread out and have their own area to work. Instead, it can force students to cram near each other, causing more conversing that becomes a large distraction for both the students talking and those in the near vicinity, which is pretty much everyone.  Additionally, it’s hard for a study hall proctor to completely control so many students from talking in the space. Students could benefit from the availability of being able to leave the space and have more freedom for how they use their time out of class.

Free periods would allow many new options. Students would have more freedom to work in a place that is best for them, find new ways for how they work best and learn to be responsible, and be productive. The limitless activity opportunities that come with free periods would also encourage students to finish their homework early, especially if there were options such as open gym or using the weight room. Students who might not have a chance to get active in the day or after school could use free periods to get active once  they finished all their homework.

Since freshmen aren’t allowed free periods, they don’t have the freedom to leave the space as they want. This can be limiting for some that can’t get work done with a lot of noise and activity within the space of one half of the upper library. SPA should allow freshmen to have free periods starting Q4, giving students the opportunity to demonstrate that they can use their time wisely.