Is Study Group a Waste of First Period?


Live photo of a study group in action, no one speaking and no faces shown. 

Pilar Gomes

          Hey juniors, what do you do in your study group? Don’t lie, because the reality is most of our answers would be in the realm of nothingness. Sure, some students might actually do work, but they are an anomaly. Honestly, if we are being truthful with ourselves, most of us don’t even leave our beds during the abominable time frame between 8:30 and 9:00am. I might even dare to say that there is an overall consensus that study group is more a free period of netflix watching and tiktok scrolling. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but many have realized the idleness vertex that is the first period and want to 

see some changes in study group. Even a person consisting of copious amounts of laziness like myself, thinks that I could benefit from a more productive first period. But what changes can we make you might ask? Your classmates have some ideas. 


When I was deciding on who to ask, my first instinct was to interrogate people from my own study group. See, my study group wouldn’t be defined as chatty, or rather talkative at all really. Many study groups stay silent and so the perspective of someone in my own study group was necessary. Rory Ichelson and Sam Moelis agreed to answer some of my questions, and both came with the similar conclusion that a way to make study groups better is to have homework that we can do in that period. 


“ There should be more work given in class that should be completed in the study group, ” Rory explained. 


Having homework to do during the study group period would definitely make it more effective. Sam added a more specific idea.


“It would help if assignments were due at the end of study groups instead of before study groups at 8:30. Giving the opportunity to ask group mates and revise your work”. 


Their input led me to thinking, why was all our homework due 8:30? Additionally, wouldn’t a change in required homework change Study Group lazy routine? If we could productively do our homework, Study Group would finally be beneficial. Right?


Only one person could really know how to actually go about fixing the study group – a teacher, more specifically, Michele Balsam. Michele Balsam is one of  the 11th grade leaders of study group and I happened to snag an interview. When I talked to Michele about what she thought about this study group, her response was that it was a work in progress. Michele brought up a fair point: the WESS experience is similar to a science experiment. Everything is always being tested on the students to see if it works or should be altered. Study Group is new, and similar to the past, the teachers are seeing what works and what doesn’t. This was the first semester of the Study Group and the teachers needed to see the pros and cons. Michele explained that as we continue throughout the year we will start to finalize the study group and capitalize on how to improve it. 


When I asked my other classmates about their point of view, I got some rather unique responses which really prove some creative ideas for how to improve the study group. 


Daisy Koffler declared that the Study group could be improved by “being led in bigger groups by a teacher or groups that students choose. It could also be moved to a different time of day.” Daisy’s feedback is almost ingenious. There are so many ways in which study groups can be improved – ideas that I hadn’t even thought of. Time and class size is flexible, which had never occurred to me. 


Nina Pappas also added to the discussion that “by implementing more structure in the study group would help us all enjoy the real purpose.” Maybe the reason why this system is flawed is because students have too much free reign. Both Daisy and Nina brought up good points but most importantly illustrates how big our window of improvement can be. 


As a fellow student, a fellow study grouper, and a fellow optimist , I do have to say that I am excited for the rebirth of the study group. One plus about being a student at WESS is that we have power with the ways in which our school runs. The only way Study Group will truly be beneficial is by students actually doing work. As this year continues, I am hopeful that the Study Group will be edited or tiktok will get banned. Either way, perhaps work can finally get done during the detestable morning time slot. Anyway, adios readers. Stay awake, stay off your phones and get ready to see change!