Preserving students’ well-being: Why Kirkwood should implement a four-day school week

Right about now students can often be heard saying, “This week feels like it is never going to end.” 

Burnout seems more prevalent in the spring semester as students struggle to attend classes five days a week and meet homework deadlines. Imagine if students had the opportunity to attend classes only four days a week. 

Not having classes on Fridays could provide Kirkwood students with a little more incentive to have an extra day to complete assignments and participate in extracurricular activities and leave more time on the weekend to work and spend time with family. 

As a college student, balancing class time, assignments, work and other obligations is just one more stressor on a student’s plate.  

Attending classes just four days a week means a lot more than having an extra day to work on assignments. By this time of the school year, students are drowning in their assignments while simultaneously feeling like they are running out of time as each day passes, which – as many could imagine – is not good for anyone’s mental well-being. 

A four-day instructional week would not only benefit students but save on costs for the college as well. Kirkwood implemented a four-day work week over the summer, so why not make it a permanent, year-round change? 

Instead of every school week feeling like a marathon while simultaneously being hunted by a rabid lion, it could be a lot less stressful if one more day allowed the time to ease the stress of being a college student.  

Some students work part-time, as well as having to worry about paying rent, all while attempting to maintain their GPA and some sort of social life. If invested in academic achievements enough, that social life is more than likely being held on by a thread. 

A four-day school week leads to having more flexibility with schedules outside of a classroom. Instead of a Friday being the last thing standing between a jam-packed weekend, it could hold so much more potential for students’ mental well-being. Even taking that Friday as a mental health day could prevent individuals from falling behind or becoming burned out.  

Kirkwood would not be the first college to implement this weekly schedule change. Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa implemented the four-day school week on a trial basis back in 1977 as a cost saving measure after a difficult winter. According to the college’s website, “More than four decades after college officials decided to give it a try, the four-day week now is ingrained in the Indian Hills academic calendar.  Many students and staff members will tell you it’s one of the things they like best about Indian Hills.”

In an article on higheredjobs.com titled “Can the Four-Day Week Work in Higher Education,” it states, “Some institutions have adopted a four-day instructional week to boost enrollment and better serve students’ interests. Pfeiffer University in North Carolina is piloting a scheduling model next fall in which there will be no Friday classes. Named ‘Falcon Fridays’ for the school mascot, the fifth day of the week will be dedicated to enrichment outside the classroom: internships, research projects, athletics, field trips, community service and other events.”

Overall, there are many reasons Kirkwood should move to a four-day instructional week.

Categories: Opinion, Staff Editorials