Beginning or end of the day
As schedules are finalized, many students have voiced their personal preferences in regards to what time is best for a prep period. As someone with a fourth period prep, I can confirm that beginning-or end-of-day preps are the best. Not only do these prep periods offer the same benefits that midday preps offer, but beginning- or end-of-day preps are beneficial to students because they allow them to arrive or leave school at different times, giving them access to a plethora of opportunities that they’d have to otherwise forsake.
Although school starts at 9 a.m., which is 45 minutes later than it was in previous years, sometimes a later start time is not late enough. In a 2015 study, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends teenagers get 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. A first or fifth period prep gives students an extra hour and a half to catch up on their 8 to 10 hours. For early birds like me who do not stay up until 3 a.m. finishing homework or playing video games, the extra time in the morning can be used to get work done instead of sleeping. In some cases, the best time to be productive is after being fully rested. End-of-day preps have their own benefits as well. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the most brutal, with school ending at 4:10. However, for students with a fourth period prep, school ends at 2:30. With my fourth period prep, I like to visit my old middle school teachers on the way home. When biking home at 2:30, I can still reach Jane Lathrop Stanford (JLS) Middle School right before their school day ends. This also means I can go and surprise my younger brother right as he gets out of class.
Students can also utilize their preps to attend more after-school activities. A lot of activities or
events after school start around 3 p.m., since for many schools, that is when the day ends. For ex-
ample, one of my volunteering opportunities starts at 3:30 on Tuesdays. Not only is that before school ends, but the organization is also located in San Jose, a 40-minute drive away. My fourth period prep allows me to get there on time and do more for my community.
People might say that seventh period preps get the short end of the stick for end-of-day preps, with fewer days to go home earlier. However, seventh period preps allow students to go home earlier on Mondays 45 minutes before everyone else, skipping the after-school rush hour. Seventh period prep also allow students to go home earlier on Fridays. For those who do not visit past teachers or attend after school activities and events, there is still the option of staying at school and doing homework. Just like during any other prep period, students can work in the library if they require an academic setting to stay productive. Because I prefer to spend my evenings calling my friends or socializing, getting my work done right after school is perfect. That way, all my work is complete before I reach the time of the day where my motivation goes down the drain.
While midday prep periods give students an extended lunch period to go off campus and eat good food, it is important to note that seventh period on Wednesdays is after lunch, giving students the same opportunity. Given the lack of restaurants in the close vicinity of Gunn, students with a midday prep who choose to use their extended lunch to eat off campus would have to drive in order to make a timely return. This is not always a problem for students who have a license as well as access to a car, but it is for those who don’t.
All in all, beginning- or end-of-day preps are far superior to midday preps. They offer many more uses and opportunities for students, in addition to the same benefits that midday preps offer. Whether students choose to sleep in, go home early after long school days or just work, beginning- or end-of-day preps are sure to provide students with anything to fit their needs with the most flexibility.