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A Blanket of Stress in the Pocumtuck Valley
danielle dalton 12 features editor volume 86
December 15, 2011

After awakening from a restful 9.25 hours of sleep at 7:30, you head to the Dining Hall and eat a perfectly balanced breakfast before your first period class. Your morning, which consists of three classes and fourth period free, includes two tests that you did not cram for the night before due to your excellent study and organizational skills.

After acing your second test, you sprint to your dorm room at the start of fourth period, so you can effectively use every last second of your forty-five minute free period to complete one of your five forty-five minute assignments.

After diligently working for forty-five minutes you run to the Dining Hall, where you first wait your table in the fifteen-minute interval. After lunch, you go to your remaining two classes of the day before racing back to your room for your second free period, where you will again use every moment to complete another subject of homework.

After your free, you get ready for your athletic practice and head to the gym. After stopping back at the Dining Hall for dinner, you arrive back at the dorm at 6:00.

After changing out of your athletic clothes, you realize you have a meeting at 6:30 for a club. You, a dutiful club member, attend the meeting and go straight to your room at the conclusion of the meeting, at 7:30.

As the perfect student that you are, you begin your work right away, without missing a beat. You transfer from one forty-five minute subject to the next like a verse from the “Evensong”—naturally and effortlessly.

Finishing your homework at exactly 9:45, you head to the hall feed, but for no more than five minutes because you must be lying down in bed at 9:55, if you want to make sure that you are asleep at exactly 10:15 so you can get your full 9.25 hours of sleep (since you aren’t sleep deprived it should take you twenty minutes to fall asleep). And being the perfect Deerfield boy or girl you are, you do finish your perfect day on time.

Sound familiar?

Perhaps you don’t go to bed until 10:40 because each of your five teachers assigns fifty-minutes of homework, just a mere extra five minutes of homework. Well, that adds another twenty-five minutes each night. In addition, you may be unable to sprint from your classes to your dorm room to effectively use every minute of a free period for homework, so add a modest fifteen minutes to your day, ending your day at 10:55. But, you are also in an AP science class, take a sixth course or have a music lesson during a free period, so you lose an entire forty-five minute block. Well, you now go to bed at 11:40.

And say you spend more than five minutes at your feed—more like fifteen or twenty. Well it is now 12:00 pm and you are looking at 7.5 hours of sleep. You haven’t even taken a break in your day or considered any other time commitments you may have—like needing to meet with a teacher, needing to study for a major test, or possibly wanting to spend twenty minutes catching up with a close friend.

The blanket of stress that fills the Pocumtuck Valley this year is at a record high and, while propositions are being considered to reduce stress, a campus-wide conversation needs to begin if we want to reduce stress levels to a reasonable level.

Faculty and students must talk to one another to hear their suggestions and other perspectives. Rumors floating around campus include possibly removing sit-down dinners during the week. Some students balk at the idea, stating that is one of the things that makes Deerfield, Deerfield.

Other ideas like turning off the internet for underclassmen for one hour during study hall each evening lead to the question, “Will the junior and senior class be filled with students who are unable to monitor themselves and will be on Facebook until the internet shuts off at 1 AM?” Perhaps this is the perfect question to discuss at your five-minute hall feeds…