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Study Hall Doesnʼt Help Us Do Our Work. Hereʼs Why.

Study Hall Doesnʼt Help Us Do Our Work. Hereʼs Why.

Study Hall Doesnʼt Help Us Do Our Work. Hereʼs Why.


Staff Writer

February 1, 2024

Shaye Lee '26

I write this article at 8:39 p.m. on a Friday night. 

Assuming you are a kind and compassionate soul who cares for the well-being of your favorite Record writer, I know what you’re thinking: why is an otherwise well-adjusted sixteen-year-old spending her Friday evening locked away in Wieler 2, alone (save for soothing sounds of my ambient study music)? 

To that, I say: fear not, dear Reader! To assuage any budding concerns about the state of my social life, let me make clear that I am not in Wieler of my own volition. Rather, I am here for one reason and one reason only: I have study hall. 

Study hall is a rite of passage for any four- or three-year Hotchkiss student. For two hours (almost) every day, homely dorm rooms are transformed into academic purgatory. With nowhere to escape, Preps and Lower Mids are forced to confront the ugliest of monsters that graded math homework they’ve been putting off since last week. 

In the spirit of transparency: I freely acknowledge that study hall was created with the best of intentions. The program represents a good-faith attempt to support students adjusting to boarding school life, and in theory, it works. Regularly dedicating a portion of one’s night to homework provides the basis for good study habits and a healthy sleep schedule. 

That being said, something isn’t working. Preps and Lower Mids continue to complain about high levels of stress, and if one were to take a poll, findings would likely indicate that most students do not achieve the recommended 8 hours of sleep. 

Study hall seems to be doing very little in mitigating the amount of work students have post-check in; in fact, cries of “I have SO much homework” have begun to replace simple “hellos” by way of greeting after 10 p.m.. The reason for this? I can’t say for sure, but here’s what I think. 

Firstly, study hall inherently limits productivity. Having a set time for homework discourages students from proactively completing assignments earlier in the day. Since the school so firmly defines this “study hall” period as the time students should be dedicating to schoolwork, most aren’t motivated to make productive use of built-in frees such as breaks, flexes, and lunch periods. 

Working in the same place you sleep blurs the lines between school and relaxation, a boundary already difficult to maintain at boarding school. reports that “working in the bedroom establishes unhealthy associations between your bed and work, making it difficult to mentally disconnect when you’re trying to fall asleep.” Basically: study hall makes it harder to focus on studying without feeling exhausted, and harder to go to bed without thinking about how stressed you are. It forces you to sacrifice both your sleep routine and your academic performance. 

Lastly: studying in my dorm is distracting. I love my floor, and I love my dorm. But I think I love both a little too much. 

During study hall, there is inevitably a flow of neighborly chatter, and the lack of oversight makes it difficult to enforce the ideal “no talking, just learning” environment. That’s not a jab at the dorm faculty, nor is it a jab at the proctors---it’s impossible for a few people to make sure that dozens of students remain completely focused on their schoolwork. I would be far more productive if I was allowed to sequester myself in an isolated corner of the library until 10 p.m. In case you remain unconvinced— just wait! I am not alone. I’ve taken the liberty of interviewing a select few members of the Hotchkiss community to prove that anti-study hall sentiment is widespread. 

Let’s have a listen: “There’s too many distractions in study hall. I have trouble making myself do work because of my distracting floormates,” said Lindsay Miaou ’26. “The closet-sized rooms make me pile all my belongings on my desk, so I’m forced to work on my bed, and I fall asleep. I need a productive workspace, and that is not my room.” 

Fellow Wieler resident Penelope Thornton ’27 said, “Since my bed is right there, it makes me distracted, and I’m not as productive as when I have a free and am in the library.” 

Emily Cho-Sayegh ’26 takes a different stance. “After co-curriculars and dinner, I’m really tired and all I want to do is take a nap, but I can’t because of study hall,” she said. “I feel like my quality of work decreases when I’m really tired, and I would rather just take a nap in the middle of doing work and be re-energized for the rest. Sometimes, though, I wake up with an Apple Pencil in one hand and an iPad in the other as I fall asleep in the middle of my work and even miss check-in. Overall, study hall’s not for me.” 

The people have spoken. Although the school’s heart is in the right place (we appreciate the concern they have for our admittedly poor time management skills and know it comes from love!), study hall is not the solution. So please, Hotchkiss, hear my plea: stop study hall! We promise you won’t regret it.

Shaye Lee is a staff writer for The Record.

February 1st

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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