When I signed up for a G-Block class, I knew that I was going to have one more class than everyone else, and I knew that I would also get free-blocks to compensate for that extra class, however, I never realized the true difference that made light during the COVID-19 outbreak.
I love the music we play and I really bonded with the students in both the Afro-Caribbean and Cuban Jazz bands, but when it came to lunch, we were often the last ones in the cafeteria. With a measly 10 minutes to gobble up what was supposed to fuel us through the last classes of the day and sports, we often would find ourselves still hungry and tired. During the winter term, I had to balance the workload of four core classes, being English, History, Pre-Calc, and Biology, along with music during everyone else’s “free block.” Not only did this not allow me any in-school time for homework as other students had, but it also disallowed me from sneaking off campus, flashing my newly acquired driver’s license. (Sorry Mr. Adjout if you end up reading this).
Despite the lack of free time, I was able to persevere through the term, although many of my friends told me they felt more disconnected from me than during the previous term. At the end of the term, it had seemed to me like all the hard work paid off. In early February, we performed in front of the entire school. Standing up in front of over 400 people with the spotlight only on me, I felt all the pressure. One mess up and it was over. Luckily, that was not the case. Everything went according to plan and even better, our friends were able to see what we worked so hard to create. As I walked through the halls for the rest of the day, I was approached by teachers and classmates I had known since freshman year, dapping me up and congratulating the performance. Many of them had no clue about the stress I had gone through that term, and for a quick moment, I forgot about it as well.
During the third term, I was in a better place. I had a free block and,for the first two weeks that we were in class I felt less stressed and almost as if I would be able to balance my schedule and workload well, maybe even getting a jump on my summer full of college work. Little did I know how wrong I was. As everyone knows, two weeks into the spring term, we were sent home, not to return until the fall.
The online learning brought on new challenges, however, up until they decided to add time to each class block, thus minimizing our break time, I had fun in classes and had a good amount of time to get a jump start on homework. After the added time, I was unable to get any work done during the school day and had little to no breaks in my schedule apart from my free block which I usually spent meeting with teachers and my advisor. I ended up sending an email to Mr. Adjout stating that, although I enjoyed the balance of homework and classwork, I felt like I was drowning in busywork every night. Along with this, I was constantly on my screen upwards of 8 hours a day, which tired me out, leaving me with no motivation to finish my homework. I was able to finish the spring term with good grades and after the term, I was relieved to see summer.
When I came back to school in the fall, in-person classes were incredibly fun and a great change in pace. After the Cuban band class, I had an hour to relax and eat lunch, something I had taken for granted during my freshman and sophomore years. However, after the first week of this break, the schedule was changed, only allowing us 20 minutes to eat. I mean, sure it allowed for us to have extra space for an X-block class, but it took away a good time to both socialize and do work for those of us with classes from 12-1. I feel like I have almost fully circled back to last winter when I had no time to see and talk to friends, and I have already heard the “I haven’t seen you at all this term” on numerous occasions. I am not looking forward to the Winter term where this is going to be repeated with even one more class added to my already hard-to-manage course load.
The class is easily one of my favorites and I love the ambiance and music we are able to create, however, it does have negative factors. Overall, I would take these kinds of classes any year as the pros outweigh the cons, however, I have found that through COVID, my schedule has become hard to manage and unfavorable to all those with G-block classes.
Ollo, I love to hear you play that sax!