As our world grows ever more connected and work starts to move online, it becomes too easy to find yourself staring at a screen all day. With all school assignments based in Canvas, it is not uncommon to find students all working on their laptops. Interviewed students reported about 5-8 hours of screen time on just their laptops. This comes from using them during class, and homework throughout the day. And while there is a time and place for that, but do kids need to be working during their breaks? During lunch?
In this article, We will learn why students are doing more work during breaks, how some physical activity during lunch can help academic performance, and what kids at Rowland Hall are during lunch.
So why might kids be playing fewer physical games than they did in middle school or earlier in life? The pressure from modern-day school and the ever more selective college process. Data suggests that the “most competitive colleges in the U.S. are getting even more selective — applications in general were up by 10 percent between 2021 and 2022,” according to KCM. The extra pressure from Rowland Hall to excel in every class leaves not much time to have fun, bring out that childhood energy, and just play a few games.
So while students are busy doing more work than ever, it might be worth taking a look at physical activity as it can vastly improve academic performance. According to the National Library of Medicine, “When physical activity is used as a break from academic learning time, post engagement effects include better attention, increased on-task behaviors, and improved academic performance,” which can clearly be helpful when trying to take a test next period and a brain break is all that’s needed. Furthering that idea, also from the NLM “Children respond faster and with greater accuracy to a variety of cognitive tasks after participating in a session of physical activity” and “a single bout of moderate-intensity physical activity has been found to increase neural and behavioral concomitants associated with the allocation of attention to a specific cognitive task.” For example, playing one round of spike ball can do wonders because it increases your heart rate, increasing blood flow throughout the body. So, based on this research, it is surprising that Rowland Hall students are not out moving their bodies during lunch. What else could they be doing?
Most kids interviewed said they went out for lunch, with most freshmen and sophomores going to places like Crack Shack or Barbacoa. Juniors and seniors find themselves driving off campus to places like Panda Express, Zao, and other restaurants in Sugarhouse or in the surrounding area, which can take much more time than just walking to a place on 9th and 9th, resulting in a quick departure from campus and a rushed arrival back to make it to class on time. One senior who wished to remain anonymous said, “I always love to go off campus with my friends because the on-campus options are lacking.” This leaves little time for a game with friends or a quick jog around the school.
So what do Rowland Hall students do during lunch besides work? One group that can often be found in the front of the school is the Spike Ball Club. Asked why they play during lunch, Noah Ling (sophomore) said, “Why would I spend my time in a teacher's room when I can be out here playing spike ball with the boys?” and from Declan Morash (Senior) “Because the school no longer offers baseball as a sport for students, a group of us who have a passion for the sport decided to get together during lunch and free periods to play wiffle ball out on the backfield. It's one way for us to continue our love of the sport.” While students might not be aware of the benefits they sure love being outside and can enjoy whatever sport they play.
To reiterate, students spend more time than ever to keep up their “perfect” image in front of colleges because of the more competitive environment for college admissions. This leads to less students finding time for themselves and pushing any physical activity that they might do during lunch, no matter how much it might help them academically, off to the side in favor of finishing that one English assignment they didn’t have time for last night.