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Class-Schedule Calculations

By ALAYA AYALA

This semester, the new class schedule has caused trouble for some students, with many struggling to figure out exactly why it’s been so hard to settle into the new routine. Now that we’re a month into our semester, the Indy has sat down and done some calculations to figure out just how much more time Harvard students have been spending in class.

Last year, our classes started 7 minutes past the hour, and generally met for an hour at a time. This gave us 53 minutes total for each class. On our new schedule, classes are generally 1 hour and 15 minutes long. So, that means that we have an extra 22 minutes of class time per lecture. Let’s say that an average student takes 4 classes a semester, that each meet twice a week. That’s 44 more minutes per class, with the total adding up to just under 3 more hours of class time. That’s not including sections, which would add on upwards of another extra hour of class to our schedules.

If a person had 4 classes that met twice a week and 4 sections, it totals out to a total of 4 hours and 24 minutes of class time that they wouldn’t have had last semester. It should come as no surprise, then, that students have been scrambling to adjust their schedules accordingly.

The consequence of this calculus has had a devastating impact on students throughout campus; while Freshmen have been quick to acclimate, upperclassmen have found the strange spacing and blocking of classes to be a significant detriment to such basic necessities such as eating. The extended lunch hours (regardless of how long overdue) are just one campus-wide adjustment necessary simply to accommodate the new course schedule.

The change in schedule derives from the need to begin adjustments so that students can make it to classes on time when the new SEAS campus opens in Allston; current students, however, neither get any added benefit that comes with the Allston campus, and instead all the confusion of the altered schedule.

The culture of “Harvard Time” was one that permeated through the lives of the students at Harvard, brought home, to friends, and for better or worse, potentially into their careers. It appears that professor are unsure as to how to adjust to the scheduling change accordingly as well, as many classes, such as ER39 (Money, Markets, and Morals) and CB22 (Ancient Greek Heroes) run only an hour typically, and as such, students are left with an odd 30 minute gap between classes, without enough time to run back to houses to get lunch, but just enough to sit idly in the Science Center, unsure of how to use their time.

It seems that such an odd wrinkle can actually matter, but when examining the careful precision with which Harvard students are essentially required to balance schedules and manage deadlines, small changes can easily become major disruptions. For those who’ll enjoy the benefits of the Allston SEAS campus, here’s hoping that it’s worth it!

Alaya Ayala alaya_ayala@college.harvard.edu is still adjusting to her new schedule

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