Few students were pleased with the structure of the 2020-2021 school year. While most can agree that hours spent struggling to pay attention in Zoom classes were particularly unfavorable, one phenomenon that widely met with pleasant reaction was the introduction of “Wellness Wednesdays”: A time to SOAR beyond the threshold of turned-off cameras and microphones. With Wellness Wednesdays, students could catch up on work, relax, study, or do anything within the means of a teenage world amid COVID. But with the arrival of a much anticipated in-person school year, these Wellness Wednesdays have now come to an end. With classes on Wednesdays this year, students were also able to compare: Were they more productive on Wednesdays this year or last year?
That’s the exact question I had the honor of asking some of my fellow falcons within the last couple of weeks. I conducted a survey of Sophomores and Upperclassmen (no Freshman, due to an inferred difference in structure from various middle schools last year), in which I asked them if they were more productive, less productive, or the same on Wednesdays this year compared to last year. The results yielded as follows: It was found that 60% of Seniors claimed to be more productive this year, 30% claimed to be less productive, and 10% said to have the same amount of productivity. Among Juniors, 25% claimed to be more productive, while a whopping 75% claimed to be less productive this year. Lastly, with Sophomores, the survey showed that a mere 20% claimed to be more productive, with 40% claiming to be less productive and 40% claiming to be the same.
Several conclusions can be made as to why these results are as presented. It could be that the majority of Seniors claimed to be more productive on Wednesdays this year due to the onslaught of college applications and plans for the future invading their already busy schedules. With Juniors, one could think that last year they still had the lasting energy of not having had a full year of high school as of yet, which compelled them to rise out of bed early each Wednesday morning. This could help them complete their Questions of the Day for attendance as quickly as possible, along with other online homework on their Canvas pages. And with Sophomores, a conclusion could be that they felt somewhat overwhelmed with virtual work last year, tasting the first poison of the next years of their lives.
The truth is, it may just be on a personal level. Is one more prone to burnout in a 5-day school week or to bad time management on a day off? Two Juniors gave their explanations: One, in support of the resurgence of Wellness Wednesdays, claimed that they “feel like having classes throughout the day limits the amount that I can do after school.” On the other hand, the second claimed that they were more productive “Because I’m actually required to do work.”
While it seems the student body is a bit divided on this topic, there seems to be very strong beliefs on both sides. What may seem to be a minor inconvenience to the weeks of high schoolers is actually a district-wide question, with the importance of potentially re-implementing Wellness Wednesdays resting on the shoulders of DPS Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how thoughts on this subject progress as the year goes on, as some may adapt to the 5-day work week while some may become increasingly exhausted from consecutive weeks of school. Wellness Wednesdays were a blessing and a curse depending on how they were used, and now with them gone is it time to get back to normal, or time to bring them back?