Lehigh’s academic schedule has undergone some changes beginning in the fall 2019 semester. Classes that used to be 50 minutes three times a week are now 75 minutes twice a week, giving many students three-day weekends. (Shana Lichaw/B&W Staff)

New class schedule raises concern from students

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Lehigh’s academic schedule introduced new additions and changes for the fall 2019 semester. 

Courses that were previously offered three times a week for 50 minutes are now scheduled twice a week for 75 minutes. 

“Transitioning into this new schedule⁠, it’s very difficult to focus past 50 minutes, which is what we are used to,” Emily Valleras, ’20, said. “You see some kids starting to text and cope with trying to focus. I have a little bit of a hard time trying to focus when class gets that long, and I think other students feel the same.”

Mikhaila Zacharia, ‘21, said her attention span doesn’t extend beyond 50 minutes, and during the extra 25 minutes, she becomes tired and finds herself zoning out.

Zacharia said she has also been running into problems with her club meeting times. 

The new schedule runs from 7:55 a.m. until 9:55 p.m, and many students now have classes after 4 p.m., which was uncommon in past years. 

“I have a class from 5:50-7:05 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, and that’s where it can be annoying,” Zacharia said. “Lehigh had this whole thing about how they wouldn’t have classes after 4 p.m., which used to be great because I would have all my clubs and activities after, but now that I have that class, I had to change around certain things.”

She said she now arrives late to her a capella group practices on Mondays, and overall, the group had difficulty scheduling a time to practice with the new changes. 

Valleras said she experiences similar issues. She said the changes with club meeting times have pushed back her evening, and brings up difficulties for professors who advise clubs because it is harder for them to return home to their families.

Vera Fennell, an associate professor of political science, said she is a fan of the schedule changes. She said she hasn’t found students have lagging attention spans.

“For me, it’s not a big change or a big difference than before,” Fennell said. “I think it’s fine, I have no problems with it.”

Zacharia said she can understand why the changes were made, though she opposed them initially.

Under the new schedule, many students have a three-day weekend because there are fewer classes offered on Fridays. 

“It was always a lot of class happening, and now, with two days, there’s less of it and a lot more free time,” Valleras said. “That’s one thing I really like. I’m buckling down during the week and trying to get work done, but I’m trying to be less stressed and spreading my work out on the weekends since I have more time to do it.” 

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