Not Free For All

Justine Seligson, Staff Writer

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It’s just fourth period and I am already looking at hours of homework after school. That’s once I get home after a mandatory club meeting, a dentist appointment and swim practice. It couldn’t possibly get any worse. Then my Global Themes teacher announces that the essays we’ve been working on have to be completed at home by tomorrow. As we are all leaving the classroom, a friend casually mentions that she’s relieved she has a free lunch this afternoon. How nice.

When do I have this free time during school hours? Well…I don’t. In middle school last year, I had to make a tough decision. When I was picking out classes with my guidance counselor, I knew I wanted to continue French, but I also wanted to start Latin. I was glad I could take both. But with my interest in photography, I wanted to take digital darkroom too. It would also give me half a credit towards the 1.5 art credits I’ll need to graduate. But add it all up, along with the required freshman classes of math, biology, English, global themes and P.E., and it leaves zero free periods.

When I told my friends about my situation, they thought I was crazy. I just replied with “I’m up for the challenge.” I mean like how bad could it be? Right? Wrong! It turns out that all the high school students I met as an eight grader were right about the course load. I’m loaded with more work than the typical freshman. And I don’t have the extra 40-some-odd minutes during the day to finish up work.

But there are so many courses I want to take while at Staples. Not sure how I can squeeze them in. Definitely not as a junior which I’ve heard is the most stressful year.  How about as a senior when I don’t have to take  P.E.? Or maybe next year, as a sophomore?

Whenever I see students leaning against the walls outside the auditorium taking pictures of themselves with friends and resting on the window seats across from the guidance department trying to win at Angry Birds, it makes me so jealous. I wish that I, like them, could finish my homework 45 minutes earlier so I could actually watch “Glee” when it’s running and not have to wait until the weekend.

I remember in middle school, a huge portion of my class, myself included (unless we had a team practice or religious school or something) would spend heaps of time playing computer games. It didn’t take a huge amount of effort to complete our homework every night. Those were the days!

At the start of the year, it seems to me it was a real culture shock for most us of.  We didn’t realize how much homework we would have. In past years, the first day of school was spent having the teacher mispronouncing our names and just giving us course overview sheets that we had to get our parents to sign. As a freshman, we were given real work on DAY ONE. Surviving and thriving in this brave new world involves changes for many of us. There’s not a lot of time for goofing around—free period or no free period.

In the long run, I have to say that I am content with my decision to skip having a free period and increase my course load. All of this work has taught me about time management.

When I get home now, I usually get right down to business. That way, I’m able to finish up a bit earlier in the evening and feel like I have a bit of time for myself. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to get a free. I guess it’s best to be free-less as a freshman when it is supposed to be easiest.

In the meantime, I’ll just carry on…and weep.

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