Free Period: Free or Open?

Nick Saranczak, Staff Writer

Is your free period free or open?

“It’s open,”  says Interim Upper School Division Head, Adam Seldis. “It’s semantics.” When students hear free, they take it out of context.

Unlike most public schools, ODA gives students a period during the day to relax and catch up on work that they need to do. This period of the day is called your Free Period. Every student at ODA will at some point have a Free Period.

“Lower classmen and upper classmen are different when it comes to obtaining free periods. Upperclassmen are given a free period in the beginning of the year, and it is theirs to lose. With lower classmen, it is the opposite. They must earn it,” says Interim Upper School Division Head, Adam Seldis.

As great as it sounds, students can easily lose their free period if they receive an interim. When students get an interim, it means that they have a 74% or below in the class that they received an interim in.

During free periods students may choose wherever they wish to go around campus. The STEM Center is the popular choice for students. Many students choose to socialize with friends, study for an upcoming quiz, watch videos on YouTube or engage in other non-academic activities. Some students, like Junior Josh Samuel, use the time for other things.

“During free periods, I usually go out and play tennis I feel like I use my free period well,” says Junior Josh Samuel.

While there is a sort of freedom during a free period, there are limits to what a student can do. Senior Jake Flanders likes to fish, but the school limits some activities.

“The only people that are allowed to fish in the lake are marine biology students,” says Flanders.

Some other students wish they could use the time to just chill out.

“I would love to sleep during free period even though it’s not allowed because as seniors we are very stressed and taxed, but I use this time to get caught up instead of having to worry about it [schoolwork] so much at home,” says Senior Nate Patrick.

There are other ways free periods are not totally free. Not only must students be engaging in school work during free periods, but they are not permitted to use cell phones during their free period.

“We don’t allow phones because it takes away from the social part of students. If phones were allowed, everyone’s face would be buried in it instead of interacting with one another. In a sense, it (a cellphone) takes away from the student’s sociability with his or her fellow colleagues,” says Upper School Division Head, Adam Seldis. 

Although students may have divided opinions, they choose to make the right choice and use their free time to get done what they need to be done.

There is a subtle a difference between a free and an open period.