Freedom: For 50 Minutes.

The library during a typical free.

The library during a typical free.

That long-anticipated bell finally rings. You slam your notebook shut, toss your pencil in your backpack, and dash out of the room, allowing all the thoughts of rational functions to disappear out of your head. It’s time for your free period.

That’s right. 50 minutes of freedom. You’ve experienced class after class after class of countless lessons to listen to, and notes to take, and excerpts to read. However, now you have the entire period to yourself, no teachers, no paying attention and no “partner work” sheets to complete.

Free periods are a beautiful element of the Staples High School schedule. Paige Murray ’15, rejoices that free periods allow students to, “finish work that you needed to do!” Nick Drbal ’14 agrees that a free period is an excellent time of day. He says, “I like to get homework done but also to talk to friends.”

The architecture of the Staples building provides students with numerous locations to spend a free period. There’s the library, the cafeteria, the courtyard (weather permitting), the learning centers, and even a few benches near classrooms. Librarian Ms. Horrigan adds, “Kids can also go to the auditorium or even the seats over by guidance. For me, I think over there is better, it can get noisy here,” referring to the library in which she spends most of her day.

There’s always the possibility of having a free first period (advantage: sleeping in) or last period- (advantage: leaving early.) Not to mention the weekly extended or lunch period which means up to 80 minutes free from classes. Extended or regular, it’s up to a student how they chose to spend that time.

However, not all students choose to take a free period. For example, Connor Mitnick ’14 explains, “I don’t have a free period because I wanted to be able to take more math and science courses since that’s what I enjoy.” It can be difficult for students to take all the courses that they find interesting in their limited four-year stay at Staples. For this reason, some students opt out of taking a free period.

While not having a free period may suit some students, for others it is a necessary part of their schedule in order to seek extra help, complete homework that their extracurricular schedule does not enable them to do, or to just simply take a breather from the school day.  Colin Bannon ‘15 glorifies his free period as “a break from school.”

Free periods can allow for breakfast to be eaten if it was skipped, the opportunity to print your essay because your printer broke late last night, or rejuvenation of your brain. No matter how you spend it, Eric Zurmehule ’14 suggests, “You have to find the perfect balance between productivity and relaxation.”