(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)


Opinion: The benefits of a seventh period to Crescenta Valley High School

The recent addition of a seventh period to class schedules at CVHS allows students to explore new extracurriculars. Making time for a class in the arts or a sports-related activity can help students relieve stress.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/yeowon0727/" target="_self">Yeowon Kim</a>

Yeowon Kim

November 16, 2021
The distance learning in CVHS has been unexpectedly smooth — the workload was not too heavy and some teachers even refrained from giving tests. Students, including myself, did not suffer from exam stress and grade stress.

However, the news of the addition of the seventh period in CVHS brought about some noises among students.

Will the additional class lower my GPA and make me fail? Will I get super stressed out and irritated due to the added workload?

These worries from students were not baseless. After all, the online is flooded with studies demonstrating the negative psychological effects of longer school hours and academic times on students in higher educational settings.

For instance, in a cross-sectional study, the researchers discovered that the extensive course load (90.8%) was the most prominent factor contributing to exam anxiety. In a similar study, it was demonstrated that test anxiety among pharmacology students was positively correlated with students’ perceptions of course load ad negatively correlated to their ability to manage time with course work.

Lastly, in another study, the researchers investigated stress levels among university students by sending out the Perception of Academic Stress Scale through email to a heterogeneous group of undergraduate and postgraduate students. The PAS scale asked students to rate various factors contributing to stress, such as the difficulty of the curriculum, competition among students, the size of the curriculum and more.

The results of the study showed that students gave the category “the size of curriculum (workload) is excessive” a score of 1.2. Given that the score of 1= strongly agree and 5 = strongly disagree, the score of 1.2 meant that the students mostly agreed to the fact that the workload is too excessive.

In short, the results demonstrated that the academic workload is one of the most prominent factor contributing to stress among students under higher educations.

Despite the studies enumerated above, students in Crescenta Valley High School surprisingly displayed positive reactions to the addition of another period to the normal six-period day.

“Adding the seventh period allowed me to pursue cross country, which would have been unlikely if there wasn’t an additional period,” said Valentina Monzon, Crescenta Valley High School sophomore.

To students going through packed academic courses every day, an opportunity to pursue interests outside of academics was an appealing offer. After all, the seventh period was not necessarily designated for an academic class; it could be filled with fun electives and sports like cross country, journalism, orchestra, studio art, marching band and more.

Specifically, the addition of a sport-related activity is beneficial to the mental health of students surrounded by academic stressors. According to Harvard Health Publishing, regular aerobic exercise often decreases symptoms of depression on a neurochemical basis by reducing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and boosting the production of mood elevators like endorphins.

“Cross country practice lasts two hours every day, but I still really enjoy going,” said, Courtney Smith, Crescenta Valley sophomore student.

Smith added cross country for their seventh period.

In a hyper-competitive world where excessive academic workloads are common, it is important that students who are prone to anxiety and depression secure their emotional health through regular physical activities.

In addition to an opportunity to take stress-relieving classes, adding the seventh period helped academically motivated students to further their studies inside the school.

“A lot of my students have no complaints with seventh period because they can take more AP classes that they otherwise couldn’t due to [a] packed schedule,” said Hannah Cha, a college-consulting counselor in La Crescenta.

Normally, students who are eager to boost their GPA and increase their chances of getting accepted to prestigious colleges had to take AP classes outside of school through different online platforms. Some who wanted to take advanced language classes took dual enrollment classes through their local community colleges because they already had a full schedule in school.

However, the addition of an extra period helped these students to enjoy more academic vigor in school without having to reach out to different online school platforms. Moreover, students did not have to worry about heavy tuition because there was no need to take these advanced classes from costly outside programs.

Thus, whether it was helping pursue passions through electives and sports or further academic studies through extra honors classes, adding the seventh period improved the lives of students in CVHS.

At the end of the day, the idea that adding time in school equals added stress level and mental deterioration was only a myth at least to students in Crescenta Valley High School.

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