DePauw offers a variety of classes and a flexible academic schedule for students. Course times range from 8:00 a.m. to as late as 7:30 p.m. However, this semester, new class times from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. conflict with what was once a standard lunch hour and students express frustration with the need to miss their meal.
At DePauw, many professors have a rule against eating in class. This is due to a variety of reasons such as COVID-19 guidelines, a desire for students to focus on their studies and to prevent disruption to others.
Professor of biology and chemistry, Jeff Hansen, gives insight to this changed schedule. Hansen has been teaching at DePauw for 27 years and has never had to teach during lunch hours, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., until this year.
“A challenge I face is teaching classes back to back. My first one lets out at 11:20 a.m. and I only have five minutes in between to prepare for my next one,” Hansen said.
He explained it might be even harder for students, who often have to walk across campus to a different building during these five minutes.
Professor of psychology and neuroscience, Robert West, is used to these strange class times. He has been teaching at DePauw for seven years and has always taught a night lab on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30-8:30 p.m.
West provided interesting information about the effect of time banks on students.
“Even though it’s close to dinner time and it gets dark, you could actually argue that a night class is more effective than an 8 a.m. when you’re still half asleep,” West said.
Although he does not currently teach a lunch hour class, it is anticipated that this time frame might also have some kind of effect on students.
For some, having class during lunch hours is not an issue. “I do not feel disturbed by hunger when I have class at lunchtime,” first-year Saki Nakashima said.
Other students like first-year Maia Casterline are struggling to learn during lunchtime. “I do find myself stressed out and having trouble focusing in my classes,” she said. Besides that, some students chose to break the rule. “I saw some people eating snacks stealthily during class after saying they were hungry,” Nakashima said.
If students cannot focus while feeling hungry, they might have the option to have a small meal or drink before classes. Nakashima said, “I will eat in advance before lunch. It is really good for me.”
Other students choose to wait until their class is over to eat lunch. Almost all classes at DePauw last for one to one and a half hours, so it is possible for students to grab food from Hoover Dining Hall, which is open for lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekdays. For students that have continuous classes and cannot fit Hoover’s timetable, the C-Store is an alternative choice, open from 9 a.m. until 11:30 p.m on weekdays.
While many dining choices are available, the main problem is students’ biological clocks. Having lunch late means that students will be full during the time they usually have dinner and that may lead them to have dinner late or eat less during their dinner or feel hungry at midnight when they stay up late to finish their assignments. “I have lunch after 2:00 p.m. and often don’t eat dinner until much later because, in my mind, I just ate,” Casterline said.
According to Jade Tatom, a first-year student, “Having classes at lunchtime is inevitable. But as DePauw allows students to choose their class, for me, it definitely helps students to arrange a suitable schedule.”
For some students, having class during lunchtime is their only option. “I want to major in computer science and all of the introduction to computer science classes were full, apart from the 12:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. one,” Ngan Tran, a first-year student, said.
Students who will have to choose classes during standard lunchtime for future semesters can consider many options above to balance their schedule and health.