The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

Middle of the day

Prep periods are an integral part of academic life at Gunn. Having a prep can reduce academic pressure by allowing students to catch up on homework during the school day or relax. Some students argue that beginning- or end-of-day prep periods are superior because they allow students to leave home from school early or arrive at school later. However, middle-of-the-day prep periods are especially helpful to students who want to be productive during their prep or who live closer to school and want to go home during the day.

Many teenagers are assigned up to 15 hours of homework per week, according to a study from the Better Sleep Council. This figure doesn’t include the hours of studying that many Gunn students spend preparing for quizzes and tests. Students must balance their assignments with extracurricular activities while still making time for their own relaxation; otherwise, they will easily feel burnt out. Prep periods allow students to take care of their schoolwork so they can focus on the rest of their activities. Most students who have middle-of-the-day preps choose to stay on campus and do schoolwork. Working on campus allows students to focus by eliminating outside distractions and providing a quiet academic environment. Not only that, but being at Gunn gives students access to resources such as the library, where they can work on tests and assignments fortheir afternoon classes. Furthermore, those who tend to be easily distracted at home can avoid those distractions and work effectively in a school setting.

Students with midday prep periods who return home or leave campus have a longer period to relax or do schoolwork. In addition to the 90-minute prep period, they can leave campus during the 40-minute lunch period. Therefore, students who prefer to eat lunch outside of school have the opportunity to do so. I leave campus for home during my third period prep and lunch to spend time with my dog, which gives me the freedom to either wind down or work on assignments if I am busy. With almost two hours to spend at home, I can walk my dog, eat lunch and still have around an hour to get work done. After my demanding first and second period classes, I often feel like I need a break. Being able to relax at home allows me to feel more prepared for the classes that I have in the afternoon. Those who live further from campus travel further to get home, so they will have more time if they find a nearby café or park to relax. With the assortment of restaurants, convenience stores and parks within driving distance of Gunn, leaving campus during one’s midday prep period can help students take a break from the busy school day.

Morning prep periods are often desired by students because they can arrive on campus later. However, the later start time encourages students to wake up later, which in turn can lead them to sleep later. Many teenagers tend to overestimate how much sleep they can sacrifice for other activities and will often spend late nights scrolling social media or finishing their homework. Late sleepers are, in fact, significantly less productive throughout the school day compared to their peers who wake up earlier, according to research from the University of Birmingham. Researchers found that night owls had shorter attention spans, lower energy and slower reaction times during the daytime compared to earlier risers. Although beginning-of-day prep periods do allow students to wake up or class later, they also lead students to sleep later, which decreases their productivity and ability to learn during the school day.

Midday prep periods provide students with additional time to work. Students who live closer to campus can take a break from classes and return home or find a location outside of campus to relax. Thus, midday preps are the best options for students.

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