JAs Should Stay

JAs are a valuable resource for students that shouldn’t be taken away.


Photo Vikram Sambasivan

Alexander Vyskocil (’24) doing English annotations during his block 2-2 JA.

Vikram Sambasivan, News Editor

School is like a desert. It’s long, there is little hope in sight, you’re just trying to walk one more step, and one after that, until you find something, anything that contains water. The JA (an IB study hall) is the bottle of water that many students look forward to in order to get them through the day. 

Some may say that JA’s are a waste of money, but they actually give students something that cannot be bought: time. Most high school students are overloaded with work, extracurriculars, social life, and almost everything else we can cram our time with. The least school can do, is give students who are pushing themselves as hard as they can, some extra time in school to do their work. 

I personally love my JAs. I am involved in many extracurriculars outside of school which leaves me with little time to do my homework at home. Instead of drowning under the constant waves of work assigned to me, I am able to complete almost half of it during school. These few hours that I have free every day are not wasted, but they are spent furthering my understanding of material that I have learned in class rather than learning (but not fully comprehending) new concepts in class. 

The county believes that these JAs are a waste of money. They think that teachers could spend their time teaching more classes instead of overseeing a study hall, they believe that this is an unnecessary break in instruction that is not properly used by students. And while there may not be any instruction going on during these JAs, there is a whole lot of learning happening. Students use these times to finish homework, study for tests, do work for clubs, and maybe just take a flat-out break and focus on themselves for a little bit. 

A high school student is put in a unique situation. We are expected to be the best in all aspects of our life during one of the most difficult times in our life. JAs are the life raft we grab onto as we are pummeled by wave after wave of assignments. The sea is unforgiving, and so is life, but high school isn’t real life. It is meant to prepare you for real life, so there should be at least some forgiveness, some leeway for students to figure it all out. 

Getting all of the work we’re given in school and outside is possible to finish without JAs, but students aren’t operating with perfect efficiency. We are not machines, we are human. The amount of work we are given could be completed if we were machine-like, but we are students who need more time than what is the bare minimum needed to finish work. Schools need to begin keeping in mind student mental health (and not by making us take classes on mental health which give us assignments which in turn give students more mental health problems), student social life and student sleep. This is not only a time of mental development but also a time of personal and physical growth/development. We need sleep and a good work/life balance. While many may not have even with these JAs. There’s no point in getting rid of the only tool provided by the district that is working towards giving students these basic rights.