Editorial: A case for free Fridays

Asynchronous Fridays are an integral part of a virtual student’s ability to remain academically involved without sacrificing mental health.

Asynchronous Fridays are currently under threat of being removed, yet provide invaluable time to help students recuperate both academically and for their mental health. | Graphic by Jonathan Xu ’22/Staff 

The recent threats to our asynchronous Friday have caused an uproar among students and teachers alike—urging all of us to spam Mr. Hughes’ inbox with emails explaining why asynchronous Fridays are beneficial. Many emails sent to Mr. Hughes may include anecdotal evidence that Fridays are spent strategically, with a particular academic purpose in mind. And while these individual circumstances should be taken into consideration as compelling evidence to keep our current schedule, we at The Merionite came up with generalized reasons why devoting time on Fridays for student relaxation is not necessarily a bad thing.

Despite less LM students attending school physically, the LM administration has not rested. Since the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, students are demanding the administration take a hard look at the implicit biases that threaten BIPOC at school. Work in equity advocacy is a long battle—one that cannot and should not be rushed. The student leaders at LM, namely those in CREI, have devoted countless hours and energy into garnering proper recognition for racism at LM and pushing for action. Whilst simultaneously carrying the burden of being full-time students, student advocates need a well-deserved break on Fridays—whether for completing their assigned work for the day or catching their breath.

LM students who don’t have their hands full with student activism work are likely busy with schoolwork, activities that have moved to Zoom, or athletics that feel more exhausting now due to the necessary COVID precautions. The virtual setting has turned once-fun activities more tedious, more draining, and more of a strain on the eyes. What was once a social extracurricular turns into a solely work-based after school club that piles on to the mountains of work students already receive. While the reports on how much work LM teachers give virtually vary, it is clear that not all LM teachers assign and test with students’ mental health states in mind. As students become increasingly distant from social interactions, nature, and interpersonal relationships, confining themselves into a room with a Google Doc of quiz questions can be a huge burden—whereas in a classroom setting, after just giggling with friends in a study hall, these quizzes might have been more manageable. With the negatives of online school in mind, a Friday to refresh our numbed brains and take a break from screens is likely more productive in the long run—for both academics and student health.

Students should be treated as humans first and pupils second. While LM students scramble to proclaim they are productive on Fridays to appease the school board, which goes without saying, we need to consider the truth at hand: Fridays are necessary for both the mental health and academic productivity of students across the board.

 

Unsigned editorials reflect the general opinion of the staff and not the opinion of any single editor.