Are There Any Quiet Spaces at Latin?

Eleanor Pontikes “Try to stay organized this year!” “Don’t leave homework and studying for the night before!” You’ve heard it before. The advice given during the first weeks of school is plentiful and sometimes trivial. And yet, I used to find myself offering advice to underclassmen anyway. My advice was to figure out and find a quiet space somewhere at school or nearby where you know you’ll be the most productive, a spot for when you forgot about an assignment and have to write it in the free period the day it’s due, or a spot for when you feel stressed and need time to decompress. But in the past few years, study spots like the library and dean’s offices have turned into loud gatherings of students. Ironically, I found myself working in the cafeteria or Starbucks instead of in the library last year because it was the least loud and bustling with activity. What used to be my go-to advice has turned into an unreasonable challenge–and into a major problem at Latin. The school day can be exhausting and added extracurriculars often leave little time for homework after school. For some, free periods are the only time to finish assignments or get some last-minute studying done. When students are over-stimulated in loud or busy environments and can’t focus on schoolwork, productivity decreases and stress increases. And while free periods are a great time to do work, they’re also an opportunity to unwind. For some, this means socializing with friends, but for others it means recharging by themselves. Last year, Alex Dent ‘17 focused her senior project on introversion in society and at Latin, discovering along the way that the needs of introverts are often not met in and out of the classroom. Introverts, she explained in her presentation, recharge by spending time alone, have a deep focus for a long time, and like working in quiet spaces. Alex polled students on expectations in class participation and about spaces at Latin that were quiet enough to do work for her project. Out of the 114 responses, 62% said that there are no quiet spaces at Latin and the other 38% could only name one quiet space: the quiet section of the library or the learning resources room. Although the poll does not include the thoughts of the high school’s entire student body, it reveals that an alarming number of students at Latin have a hard time finding a quiet spot. In response to the polls, Alex provided some solutions of her own in her presentation so that the needs of introverts and of the student body in general could be met. She suggested that administrators could “Establish a designated quiet room at Latin, a space people will respect and that can be used by many students at a time.” Also, that a there could be a designated Quiet Ambassador among the faculty that could enforce the peaceful environment and act as an advocate for introverts and students looking for quiet spaces. Alex is now graduated from Latin and cannot see if the ideas from her presentation will be implemented, but tranquility and silence at Latin is not a lost hope. It is now up to administrators and teachers to recognize and prioritize this issue. ]]>