University courses allow students to tackle new ideas and areas of study that might not fit into a traditional department. They are made to be accessible and help students manage and build skills in a multitude of different areas they may struggle with. A new university course has recently been announced. This course, called UNIC 142: An Introduction to Free Time, will help students explore a concept nearly unheard of at Lawrence: having time to oneself.
Lawrentians have oftentimes been reported as overstressed due to overcommitting themselves to a wide array of classes, jobs and extracurriculars. It is a badge of honor to announce to one’s peers, “Well, I got four hours of sleep last night and I have a 10- page paper due today at 8 pm!” Students are constantly on the move. When one activity ends, like a sport’s season, Lawrentians have a habit of picking up some other activity to fill that space. While everyone always seems stressed and on the verge of breakdown, they also seem to be uncomfortable with the idea of taking time to just be. This class hopes to tackle this problem.
Unlike every other class on campus, this class is designed not to be attended. The premise is that students should take time that they would have spent going to that class to be by themselves, to reflect and to learn to be comfortable with time not dedicated to productiveness. Discomfort with relaxing is most likely to blame for many students getting strung out, and this class hopes to challenge that.
One requirement of this new course is that any student taking it must only be taking two other classes. The university worried that students would take advantage of this course and add it to an already bursting class load. This six-unit course mandates that all students enrolled must only take 18 units that term.
There is no real way to guarantee that students will not take the class and occupy the time allotted to take on even more activities. The professor of the class is anonymous, but there will be a Moodle page for the class. On the class page will be a single assignment that asks the participants to name one thing that they did with their free time. Rumor has it that if a student fills out the form and explains how they used that time to do anything, they will fail the class. The key is to either refrain from submitting the assignment altogether or to write, “I did nothing.”
Lawrence is skeptical about how good of an idea this course is, as it might result in students losing steam. The anonymous professor, however, argues that this is a skill that most people at Lawrence do not currently possess and the course will benefit the campus as a whole. By challenging the idea that they must be busy at all times, it is possible that more students will reserve time to take care of themselves. They are planning on releasing a questionnaire to the students of this trial class before the class and after it to assess how beneficial it was to their mental health.