Freshman Study Hall Wins Fans
by Katherine Wilcox on Friday, February 12th, 2016
Freshman study hall, though the frequent subject of complaint, has been one of the best features of my freshman experience thus far. Two main types of benefits, academic and social, accompany study-halls, with the former more obvious than the latter. Study halls serve as 45 minutes allocated specifically to get work done, meet with teachers, and develop good study habits that will stick with you, hopefully, for the next four years. You become accustomed to working in the library and feel how rewarding it is to finish entire subjects worth of homework before even getting home. At Milton, homework is not something you can blow off the way you might have been able to at previous schools. Mandatory study halls immediately introduce freshman brains to the importance of prioritizing and finishing work efficiently.
Socially, study hall also lets you meet the people with whom you will share frees once the spring term starts. Although you may have made friends throughout the first semester that you eat lunch with or hang out with during break, knowing no one in your frees means 45 minutes of awkwardly standing in the freshman cave hoping one of the tables has an open chair and you maybe recognize at least one person. Study hall allows you to gradually meet these 50-or-so kids first. In the first few weeks of school, just one conversation with an acquaintance can make all the difference in developing new friendships. Study hall means that everyone is working and you are not missing out. As a freshman boy who requested to remain unnamed so eloquently stated, “Study hall is an excellent use of my time. During my free periods I am always incapable of getting my work done, as I am far too popular.”
Despite how useful study halls are, there are some definite improvements that could be made. The people who share your study halls often are not in all of your classes, and one of the main benefits of doing work on-campus is the ability to take advantage of Milton resources not present at home (i.e. other students). Although you can schedule a meeting with a teacher prior to a study hall and have them write a note to your proctor, you often discover what homework doesn’t make sense after working on it for awhile, not right when you receive the assignment. The sophomore proctors that are occasionally present, though very kind, don’t often help. What would be more helpful would be the formation of study groups composed of students in your class or from different sections of the same teacher. Unfortunately, group work has been discouraged in the study halls I’ve been to, and instead the proctors insist on silent, individual work. This makes no sense, as students can always study alone at home, but school resources are limited to work done at school. Also, the enforcement is ineffective, as the majority of freshman who thought study hall was a waste of their time said that it was due to excess noise and an inability to focus.
As a class, most students agreed on a need for time to work in the day, but several said that Milton was not currently using a helpful format. Personally, I disagree, and I know I will not be alone in the library during my frees in the Spring.
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