November and January are the scariest months in any high school senior’s life; college applications loom over every agenda. Yet, during these pressing times, seniors are faced with the heaviest course load of their high school careers. Some take all Advanced Studies courses, and every senior, regardless of rigor, faces the pressure of high expectations. Their work is held to higher standards, and they practically have an additional class with college guidance.
“Life has been pretty miserable throughout online school this year,” Marshall Olmos (‘21) said. “There is very little structure to my schedule, and I find that my lack of discipline hurts me, especially with the workload I signed up for along with college applications. “
And Marshall’s concerns are not unique. Many other students, especially seniors, feel similar pressures. That is why The Webb Schools need to adopt a monthly senior day for the months before college application regular decisions are due in January. Each month, seniors should be able to take one day of their choosing off with no repercussions to deal with their college applications.
Mental health is an increasingly important issue with the advent of online learning. And seniors need stability to submit their best work both for college and high school. A day off would give students time to recalibrate, plan the month out, and catch up on work they might have missed trying to hit a deadline for college.
“It is incredibly helpful when teachers are accommodating and understand when assignments are late,” Marshall said. “It’s hard to find days to take a step back and enjoy life when there is a constant cloud of work hovering over me, which also hurts as far as mental health goes.”
“A day off would allow a much-needed break before transitioning into new units for classes,” Gregory Tolmochow (‘21) said. “Wednesday’s off only allow us extra time to finish work whereas a day off at the end of the month can be solely for getting out and not having to worry about school.”
In addition, a day off can aid with physical health. Every day, students spend hours on Zoom. And if they have leadership positions, additional meetings can add many more hours. Extreme screen time helps no one and if any student is feeling overloaded with their screen time, the day off can give them time to go outside and reset.
“I would really appreciate a day off every month to focus on my workouts and prepare for the upcoming volleyball season.” Alex Xiao (‘21) said. “I think the balance between online learning and physical activity is a critical balance to strike and this day off would help me mentally reset and attack the new week with a fresh mindset.”
“I’ve been focusing a lot on my physical health in quarantine.” Abbie Arroyo (‘21) said. “And even just having Wednesdays off gives me more time to exercise and catch up on work. Aside from these times though, I think seniors could benefit from having a day off even just once a month to take a day off and do what they need to do because I know how stressful college apps can be.”
Ultimately, Webb needs to find a way to address the pressures seniors face. Regardless of whether they adopt a senior day, seniors should face more leniency considering their course load and college applications. Sure, we chose our classes and we signed up for the heavy work, but no one really knew what online class would entail. Although Webb has offered a lot of viable resources, they should consider a senior day because there is never too much when it comes to the health of students.