Like most students, I still struggle to understand the merit of PARCC testing from an academic standpoint. I often find myself questioning the logistics of it as the non-test takers, mostly upperclassmen, are forced to sit in the school gym for two hours sans Internet. However, in the 7 days, I sat waiting in the gym, I inevitably noticed many things and began accumulating a collective list of the various ways in which students tried to suppress their boredom…
- Card Games were by far the most common way to pass the time as the deck provided students with a myriad of different games to choose from. From President to Egyptian Ratscrew, the choices were endless, the versatility being a probable cause for their popularity. However, the card games began to extend past the trite deck of 52 cards as the week went on. I noticed people playing other card games such as Cards Against Humanities, Apples to Apples, UNO, and surprisingly Yugioh, a game that peaked in the 1990s.
- Sleeping was also quite ubiquitous during the PARCC as two hours was a perfect amount of time for a nap. The upside of the PARCC (I’m being optimistic) was that it gave sleep deprived students an opportunity to catch up on their sleep as it prohibited many teachers from assigning heavy workloads. Pillows and blankets were common with some even bringing a sleeping bag to maximize the comfort of the bleachers.
- Mario Kart created a relatively exciting atmosphere in the midst of the monotony of waiting as it allowed students to compete with each other virtually. A student brought in the game and hooked it up to two monitors, which temporarily mollified the pain of sitting in the gym.
- In conjunction, the pickup basketball games in the gym also stimulated competition and enabled students to move around and exercise- a prospect that sitting around lacks. Despite, the occasional basketballs that went flying into the crowd.
- Many students found the PARCC a good way to finish assignments or study for upcoming tests. I observed much studying taking place and watched people take advantage of the time. However, it was very hard to complete homework because of the noisiness, and more importantly, the lack of wifi.
But ultimately, the boredom prevailed as many students could not take the uneventful atmosphere and often left school during the PARCC or came in late. Over the last 7 days, I noticed a steep decline in gym attendance as each day passed and more and more people bailed on the PARCC. Again, these observations are superficial, but it was holistically how I was able to remain sane amongst the dullness of the PARCC.