Stress in the block program

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Like any other university, students are under a lot of pressure to complete an essay by Thursday and prepare for a midterm next Tuesday. With the block program, this compresses the time frame. Instead of spreading out the stress over a couple of months, tutors have three and a half weeks to teach a class. This can mean more stress for students, which is apparent by how the campus can seem like a ghost town on the last week of the block. With such a compressed period of teaching, essays and readings have to be compressed as well. In some classes that can mean 5 essays in 3 1/2 weeks. In others that can add up to 100 pages or more of reading a night. This can lead to a lot of stress for students who are faced with a figurative mountain of work.

Some classes are a little harder under the block system. Take for instance language blocks. Last year I decided to take Mandarin 1 and 2 back to back, mostly because I was looking for a change. I had taken Spanish throughout high school, and wanted something completely different. The block allows for an intensive period of study of a particular field, but that can also have its downsides. I lived, breathed, and spoke Chinese for those two months, and it was anything but painless. When you have to memorize (or at least attempt to) 20 to 25 characters a night, life can be a little difficult. Was if fun? Yes. I really enjoyed the class. Was it worth it? Undoubtedly. Would I do it again? Without a doubt. At Quest the classes with higher levels of stress (meaning higher levels of work) are usually the more rewarding class. Just ask anyone who has taken one of Christian’s classes. (I am not among them)

However, there is no doubt in my mind that the block system is the way to go. Instead of having four different classes to juggle, and all the stress that brings, there is one class. At Quest, the block program allows for a more diverse approach to understanding topics while eliminating the need for multitasking, going between subjects. (say computer science and music)

There are many different ways to deal with stress at Quest. You can take a walk through the forest, go climb a mountain, bike one of the seemingly endless trails (I wouldn’t know, I don’t bike) Some students relieve stress through music, either listening or playing, while others sit down with other students in the cafe over coffee and vent about how their particular tutor seems to spend too much time coming up with creative ways to make a Questies life miserable. It is really easy to find support within the Quest community, and its one of the things I like most about the community. But no matter where you go, or what you do, there will be stress. At Quest, it just happens to be in a pretty compressed, intense period of time.

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