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(photo by Caroline Williams)

(photo by Caroline Williams)

By Caroline Williams, New Trier

My advisor announces that seven students are absent from our advisory of twenty-seven. Four people are missing from gym class, four from chemistry, and about half from IGSS (the program I explained two posts ago). The hallways, that are typically overly cluttered, are rather manageable today. It’s strange. However, it is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Who has school, other than New Trier, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving?

My brother, in 5th grade, has the entire week off. My sister, in college, has 1.5 weeks off! However, at New Trier, we have two days off. That is ridiculous. If you cannot tell, this really irks me. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday spent with family and friends. However, many people’s family and friends lives relatively far, whether it be Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, or a further state. It is common for people to drive, or fly, to the destination they are spending Thanksgiving. So, no wonder half of the school is missing! However, this is not normal. Typically, at New Trier, students are given Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off. Even though I feel students should be given a week, maybe two, off, I understand their previous schedule. This year, due to the construction at New Trier, our school year has been as compacted as possible, so they took away our Wednesday off.

This compacted schedule is causing everyone at New Trier to become stressed. Well, everyone I talk to at least. (Which I think is a decent amount of people). Students are scrambling for many reasons. One reason is that our finals are very early this year. New Trier typically has finals like two weeks after winter break. But, this year, they are a right before winter break, which is in two weeks. I am having a mini panic attack comprehending that I need to begin studying for finals like right now. That’s quite soon. Seniors, myself included, have extra stress due to these lurking college applications. Every time I feel like I finished my homework and can relax, I remember those multiple essays I must complete. Everything this year just feels like it is coming and going so fast.

I mark the school year with my days off. For example, the year starts. Then, we have Labor Day off. The portion of school that comes between Labor Day and the first day of school form a “group” in my mind. Then, our next break would be Columbus Day. Although Columbus Day really has no merit being a day off, I enjoyed sleeping in an extra day. That portion, between Labor Day and Columbus Day become a group in my head. But, we do not have those days off anymore. Due to the construction at New Trier, all of our days off that could be taken away, were taken away. So, I have like two giant “groups” of days in my head, making the school year feel very short and uneventful. Those chunks made the year seem more eventful. I need more chunks!

“Empty classrooms” are becoming very common, not just on/prior to holidays we used to be given off. Students are tired. Days off allow students to collect themselves, catch up, relax for a short, but necessary, amount of time. This year, students have been missing/leaving early from school to get these necessary breaks for themselves. It’s a tough school. There is a lot of pressure from teachers, parents, and fellow peers. It is difficult to meet these expectations with your work in a minimal amount of time. I’m ready for a nap.

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