“Every day is a new day,” my dad declared about three years ago as I dreaded the long days of summer, desperately searching for something to do with my free time. If only he knew that a couple years down the line, that popular statement would simply become meaningless words. Ever since the beginning of quarantine, we have all been living the same lives and moving along the days, each one just like the rest. I might as well call every day a deja-vu as I no longer have these high expectations for relaxing afternoons and fulfilling evenings. .
My frustration with these unchanging days came to a halt when the school started implementing screen free afternoons, or, as it’s more commonly known, the most supreme decision made by WW-P. These screen free afternoons are essentially in place to allow students to get off their computers for the afternoon by shortening the school schedule by about two hours. The half-day schedule changes each month and has generally been alternating between Wednesdays and Thursdays. As of this month, every Wednesday, classes are condensed into six forty-minute periods going from 7:40 to 12:05, giving us ample time for ourselves after noon.
Half days are more than just an exciting getaway from school; they are a privilege that WW-P students cherish to their full potential. No one wants to waste a minute of the precious time they are given to unwind in the comforts of their home. Considering the circumstances we are in as a nation right now, it is nearly impossible to return to our “normal” routine, including being out of the house, constantly moving, and exploring new activities. Half days allow us to incorporate a fair balance of academic work and leisure time into our schedule, helping us remain sane throughout the long and tiresome weeks.
Since the majority, if not all, of the learning is held online, the school schedule feels monotonous, as there is no diversity in the way our days are set up. Before quarantine, even the simple things that changed our mornings–sitting with a new friend on the bus, rushing to pack your lunch, and chatting with friends before class started–didn’t give way for uniformity in our lives. The screen-free afternoons allow us students to fully be the social creatures we are by feeding our hunger for variation that we now look for more than ever: going outside; having family game afternoons; catching up on sleep; reading books of our own choosing; walking our dogs; playing basketball; hanging out with siblings.
The pandemic has certainly been a life-changing event for all of us, and we have been forced to adapt to foreign practices, new patterns, and a strange way of living that we never dreamed of experiencing before. Thus, the thrill of the half-day doesn’t only come from having shortened classes, but because these afternoons are a joyous element that breaks the endless cycle of monotony we all are experiencing.
Picture Source: Chris Youssef for NPR
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