The big change this school year on everyone’s mind has been the common lunch schedule. I took the opportunity to speak to some of my peers to get their opinion on this somewhat drastic measure and whether it is worth the drawbacks.
Before going into opinions, I think it’s important to understand the purposes behind the schedule change, because it’s not meant to hurt the student body in any way. It’s supposed to give us time to study, do homework, eat properly, meet with clubs, and de stress. I personally like how the administration has taken action on what I would consider to be the biggest issue for Millburn High School students, time.
My worries before the school year started consisted of how that time is going to be divided. After 30 club meetings and maybe taking 15 minutes to eat/relax plus transit time to the next class, bathroom breaks, etc. I was worried how much time I would have to work. Not to forget the stresses that come with working in a “lunchroom environment.” Before September 4, I couldn’t imagine actually studying and doing homework with that level of noise and rowdiness.
I know I’m speaking for many people when I say, that the changes have been pleasantly surprising. Of course, there are some aspects of the schedule that need refining, yet the consensus is positive. I’m now going to break down some of the other big worries with the general opinions on how they’re being handled.
Having no bell before period 5: definitely a problem on the first couple days, however that issue has already been dealt with. Having that 6 minute warning is a great way to cut out possible excuses. There is now enough time to pack up and walk to class before the period 5 bell.
Not having time to relax: 1 hour feels a lot longer than you would initially think. For at least the first week of school, it seems like there is enough time to comfortably eat, socialize, read, listen to music, watch Netflix, etc. Even if some people do feel stressed by being pulled in so many different directions during lunch, most can agree that 60 minutes is a beneficial upgrade from 20 minutes.
Change in timing for other periods: staying after school 5 extra minutes is not that bad and who really needed homeroom? It was inconvenient for many to have to break from their schedule in order to attend just for morning announcements. Tacking the announcements and pledge onto first period is a more efficient use of students’ time and commute between classes. Sure, it’s strange to not know the exact time each period ends, but how hard is it to pick up on slightly new timings? Everyone has to deal with it and it honestly doesn’t cause that much trouble.
Club meetings: this seems to be the biggest point of contention. On one hand it’s nice to go home immediately after school ends. On the other, being a part of clubs now forces members to commit valuable homework and/or friend time. It seems rushed to push an entire meeting into such a restricted block of time and creates an antsy environment. Maybe this will improve with time, I’m not sure. A mandatory meeting kind of ruins the aspect of doing whatever you want with your 1 hour of freedom.
Teacher meetings: although there hasn’t been much need to meet with teachers during lunch so early in the school year, the system seems much more organized. You don’t have to worry about meeting multiple teachers on the one day they’re all available after school. Now they have designated time slots on specific days that we know in advance and can plan for around our schedules.
Homework/studying: even though the cafeteria and gym can get noisy, it is incredibly helpful to have what is essentially a full period study hall (minus eating/socializing time). People are finishing entire subjects of homework and are extra prepared for pop quizzes/actual assessments. Gone are the days when you try to cram an entire subject’s information or night of homework into your precious 20 minutes of down time. Studying and homework can take on an almost relaxed feeling when you’re not anxious to run to your next class.
Whether you love or hate these changes, the intentions are to make students more productive at home and lead more efficient school days, so we’re all going to have to adapt to this.