“By Megan Logan”
If you know me, you know that I’m not a fan of change. Like really not a fan, I get used to something and find out that it works for me and then I try to stick to it. So imagine my dissatisfaction when talk of the new schedule started last year, and the growth of that dissatisfaction when the talk became the plan.
With the second full week of classes wrapped up, it’s safe for me to say that I’m not completely satisfied with the new schedule and from what I’ve heard around campus, a lot of students aren’t either. So let’s look at the new schedule from the perspective of our campus’ students.
Forty percent of our campus is made up of athletes, athletes who come to campus early to start practicing for fall sports. In years past, athletes would get here about 3 weeks before classes would start; arriving on, or close to, the first of August and classes starting the third Monday of the month. This year though, volleyball players arrived on August 4th, a full month before classes started, with the other teams slowly coming in later, the last groups, Golf and Cheer, arriving on the 23rd.
I’m by no means trying to talk badly about our athletes, if you’ve seen me at football games you know that I love our Bears and will cheer (or yell) until I have no voice; but the longer you leave a large group of people together, the more likely they are to do something that will get them into trouble. It’d be different if these students had a choice of when they came back, but they report back when coaches tell them to and then they practice and then they have nothing else to do. Rocky was the only school in our conference to change when classes started, so our athletes and student leaders were the only ones to experience this.
Speaking from a residence life staff perspective, I have been here FOREVER. I love my job and I’m not just saying that in case Shaydean reads this, I really enjoy getting to help in improving the halls. As part of my position, my contract started on July 15th and I’ve been here ever since. Our lead RAs started their contract on July 29th and the remainder of our RA staff began on August 19th. This is not supposed to come off as whiny, but to help put the timeline into perspective for the board.
Moving away from the fact that about 50 percent of our student body has been here for a month already, and thus are at an increased risk of burnout, let’s talk about the time breakdown of the new schedule. Class time increased this year, with Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes going from 50 minutes to a full hour and Tuesday/Thursday classes being bumped up to an hour and a half. Now, this doesn’t speak to every class on campus, there are others with completely different times.
It seems that a lot of students have classes that go back to back, more so than in previous years. Yes, there is the ten-minute break between class start times, but for a slow walker who has a class across campus, they need the ten minutes just to get to their next class. Now say a student has back to back classes from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the student has now missed the opportunity to get hot lunch from the cafeteria, the Bear’s den, and depending on the day, might have missed the bookstore to grab snacks from there. This brings me to my biggest problem with the new schedule.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have a class that starts at 11:50 just like other students do. The cafeteria doesn’t start serving hot food until 11:30, which leaves about 15 minutes for students to eat if they’re able to get to their class within five minutes. Except this isn’t always the case, if students want to use one of the ‘bar’ options for food, the student then has even less time to eat.
A student favorite, mine included, is pizza bar Friday. On average a pizza takes about 10 minutes to make, which is cutting it very close for students who have class at 11:50. All I’m saying is that we can’t expect students to live off the soup and salad bar for the days they have classes that run through the prepared lunch serving times.
The schedule for the next school year is already set, according to the Rocky website, but is it too much to ask that the board waits to see how the rest of this year goes before assuming this new schedule is what’s best for Rocky?