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A Waste of Time or A Welcome Break?: Passing Time Between Classes

Photo courtesy of Carley McGovern. Pictured above, part of SAU campus students may see during their daily passing time.

It’s been nearly a full school year since St. Ambrose has transitioned to a new class schedule setup. After some time to adjust to the change, not all SAU students are happy with it. 

SAU senior forensic psychology major Julia Fogleman says she is not a fan of the longer breaks, “I personally can’t stand the 45-minute breaks because it now takes so much longer to get through a day of classes. It’s too long to sit around waiting for the next class but not long enough to get anything productive done.” 

Instead of the typical 15-minute break in between class slots, SAU administrators changed this break in between classes to 45 minutes. They believed this new schedule was closer to what the SAU schedule was before the Covid-19 Pandemic. “It could always change next year,” Director of Student Affairs Jason Richter states. 

Senior forensic psychology major, Macy O’Mary, says she also cannot stand the 45 minutes of passing time. “Personally, I think they [the 45-minute breaks] are awful, and they waste a lot of my time. When it was 15, I had just the right amount of time to get my stuff ready, and walk to my next class.” 

Taking 18 credits a semester, O’Mary says she cannot afford to waste any time, “I could take five classes in the same amount of time it is to take four right now. And 45 minutes just isn’t enough time to get anything done, to really go get food, or to get any assignments done. So I just kind of sit there and waste my time.”

Senior psychology major Ella Schmidt has mixed feelings. “I like the 15 minutes better most of the time, but some of the time the 45 minutes is nice. When I have a test, I can study in between.” Schmidt is a very involved student at SAU, as a Co-Vice President of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), a tutor at the Student Success Center (SSC), and a frequent theater participant, along with graduating in just three years. 

Schmidt says she needs all the time she can to study, “Otherwise, I would prefer the 15 minutes just so that I can get my classes over and have the rest of the day to study, instead of just having to go back and forth between little tiny study periods.”

Junior finance and business management major Will Haugen has a bit of a different take than Schmidt. “I mean, I had it [the 45-minute break] in McMullen, so I had the lounge space, but it kind of felt like a waste of time because it wasn’t necessary. 

“I get why they did it, but it’s also kind of stupid. It’s not a lot of time, like it’s not worth it to go back to your dorm room, and then back to whatever building. It’s not worth it.” 

However, not all students prefer the shorter break. “Honestly I think the 45-minute breaks between classes are nice, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays because it allows people to eat in between classes,” says Miranda Richards, a senior digital filmmaking major.  

“Even though it’s not a lot of time to get things done, I feel like it can be a very productive time,” Richards says. “The 15-minute breaks were still a good amount of time especially for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but overall, I do enjoy the 45-minute gap. I don’t know if that’s a hot take or not, but I like the 45 minutes!” 

It is currently unclear if this class schedule will stay the same beyond this year. What is clear, however, is that the students have strong opinions about it.