Being a Student Is a Job: Let’s Take a Personal Day

 Annabel Edwards It’s no secret that students at Latin take personal days to catch up on work or sometimes just to “take a break” from school. The idea of a personal day has been around for a while and is especially popular with first semester seniors and juniors, who not only have to do homework but also test prep, college applications, and essays. Many students argue personal days are an acceptable thing to do every once in a while. The issue we have at Latin is that, as of right now, students have to lie and say they are sick in order to take a personal day to catch up on work (unless a senior fills out a pink form well in advance). Latin’s theme last year was health and wellness, so if a student takes a personal day for their mental health, it would seem the school should be on board based on how Mr. Dunn described mental wellness at convocation last year. If kids are stressed from all their work and have a certain day on their schedule they know is not hard catch up from, it should not be unreasonable that they take a personal day. The main reason students skip school is not to take a day off but rather to work on other homework and assignments. One sophomore, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “It was nice knowing I was missing Day 4 because it is my easiest day, and I could sleep in but also have time to work on my upcoming essay and study for my math test.” This student found his personal day to be productive even though he could have procrastinated at home. It was a “relaxing work day“ and relieved the stress of being at school when “[he was] behind on work.” Another senior, who also wished to stay anonymous, stayed home on a Friday to work on her college essay. “At first it was hard for me to start writing, but I ended up getting so much more done than I expected,” she said. Although missing school can cause some stress, in her case, taking time off to finish her application eased the anxiety of an unwritten college essay. Mr. Lombardo, English teacher, is a supporter of a day off school for mental health. He says, “I’m a fan of personal days. I actually think it would be great if students could be granted two personal days as the faculty are. As a parent, it was pretty clear to me when my sons were in high school—and even earlier—when they needed a day off. It’s no different for parents and faculty. I think it’s tricky for students at Latin to take them. They know it’ll come at a cost.” Being a student is like an occupation. If teachers and other adults get personal days from work, it seems only fair that students should be able to take at least one personal day a semester to let them catch up on work. If Latin is truly trying to emphasize the importance of mental health and wellness, the school should understand that being a student is like working a job with the anxiety and stress that comes from each day. Just like a job, the option of a personal day should be in our “contract” as a student in school.]]>