Too Much Time “Together” Leaves Students Feeling Alone


Over the last few months of Ramaz “online,” one question has been looming on the minds of students: why are there so many assemblies, and what is the consequence of not attending these programs? Although certain assemblies commemorating important days and events are obviously necessary to maintain a sense of unity amongst the student body, the required attendance at some seemingly random assemblies is overwhelming. In addition to these unnecessary assemblies, students are being overloaded with assignments and tests. Assemblies that do not specifically commemorate or memorialize an event are taking away precious free time from students’ busy and tiresome days of online school. Instead of giving us free time during lunch and in the morning before school, we have to participate in assemblies each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day is draining, both mentally and physically, and taking the time away from our mornings and afternoons only increases the exhaustion. Sarah Ginsberg ’22 said, “I believe that the assemblies are taking away my time to do work that needs to be done. Assemblies, although interesting, are so numerous that no matter how interesting they are, I can never focus on the speaker. I always have other work to do at that time instead.” Ginsberg is not the only student who feels this way; more than half of the sophomores agreed that there are too many assemblies and said that they do other work during these times. 

While many students do listen and contribute to assemblies, there are always students who face their cameras to the ceiling so they can do other things. The original reason for Zoom assemblies was to foster a sense of community through virtual school. However, for many students, these assemblies have become an annoyance and a bother rather than enhancing community. If students are absent at an assembly, they will receive an email from the administration, but no one has been told the consequences.

Assemblies were definitely not a concern when we were on East 78th Street, but now that the assemblies are over Zoom, they feel surreal and, for the most part, unnecessary. For some students, in-person assemblies are the perfect venue to de-stress and be part of the Ramaz community. For others, not attending an assembly, or simply turning off one’s camera, lends students a sense of freedom and a feeling that they, themselves, are taking matters into their own hands.