From the editor: We need Work-Well Wednesdays

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By Hyunjin Lee, Co-Editor-in-Chief Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you didn’t think you could handle everything? Have these feelings been worsened by the pandemic?  As a senior, I have experienced these feelings countless times. With the pandemic, the college applications process and academics in general, which already are difficult, have become even more...

By Hyunjin Lee, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you didn’t think you could handle everything? Have these feelings been worsened by the pandemic? 

As a senior, I have experienced these feelings countless times. With the pandemic, the college applications process and academics in general, which already are difficult, have become even more nebulous and anxiety-inducing. 

And I know that I am not alone. 

According to a recent study published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19 among young adults have elevated considerably. In fact, anxiety and depressive symptoms were reported by 40.9% of all research participants. 

This is why I believe we need Work Well Wednesdays back. Although the new hybrid-model school schedule, with both synchronous and asynchronous time slots on Wednesdays, will offer students some free time, it is not enough. 

The fact is, students are still being given new material, information and assignments. But with Work Well Wednesdays, we will be able to use the day to catch up on work, rest, practice self-care or spend more time with family and friends. And I believe that this just might help mitigate the increased anxiety a lot of us are feeling. 

Besides, with everything online now, school can feel more overwhelming than usual. Even if the pace of schoolwork may be the same, or slower, than before the pandemic, the lack of continuity as a result of block scheduling and the excessive screen time can make school feel a lot more stressful. And having an entire Wednesday off can relieve some of this stress. 

Research by Jason Nagata from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, reveals that students’ recent excessive screen times are associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors too. For example, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, increased sedentary time and unhealthy snacking. If anything else, Work Well Wednesdays would also allow students for more time off-screen. 

Work Well Wednesdays don’t just benefit students – they can benefit the school district too. There may be a financial advantage of decreasing school weeks to four days. A research article published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education cites a report by the Education Commission of the States which found that a four-day school week could cut the budget by 2.5%. 

Although an immediate reimplementation of Work Well Wednesdays sure would be nice, I realize that it isn’t probable, with the entire school year more or less already planned out. While I am thankful that Wednesdays now are somewhat reminiscent of Work Well Wednesdays during the pandemic, I firmly believe that bringing them back will improve our mental health. 

And hey, with the craziness of 2020, the addition of Work Well Wednesday might not be just wishful thinking. 

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