When it comes to studying, time is of the utmost importance. Since AAU established the schedule before the beginning of each semester, it’s simpler for students to balance personal life with the one on campus. But it also comes to managing time during the class session. And here the problem starts.

There are no bells on campus – each class stars and ends according to designated timetable. Professors are generally responsible for providing breaks during the class time.

Tony Ozuna, the Dean of the School of Journalism, has stated that there is no written rule that says when and for how long the break should last. “It’s all up to teacher”, he added.

The original purpose of providing breaks is to facilitate the retention of students’ interest and motivation.  But, it seems that not every professor at AAU follows it. It happened often when teachers either forget to give the breaks or cancel them to to dismiss students earlier.

An Nguyen, the student of the School of International Relations and a member of Student Council, shared his experience:

I’m a 3rd year student here, and I have seen students give a formal complaint against Prof. Petr Barton with regards to class structure especially with break times. Although enthusiastic and devoted to teaching Political Economy, it can sometimes become difficult to maintain concentration for hours at a time. What was interesting was that he offered to the class a format for break times and for the class to vote, yet when it came to keeping to it there was a certain level of indifference.

According to opinion poll among AAU students, 36 of 40 respondents say they need to have regular and timely breaks. Some of them determined the main reasons why.

Diana Shlyapnikova, a 3rd year Journalism student, says: “It is especially hard for me to meet my friends from another classes during the break, as we all get it in different time. If it would one break-time stated for all classes, it would be so much easier to make appointments with other students.”

For me the main problem is that I cannot have regular mealtimes. With an unstructured class schedule it’s difficult to maintain. I never know will I have enough time to eat during the break or should I eat before, especially when it comes to morning and evening sessions’says Assel Biyeva, a student of Journalism and Communications.

Some students say that it’s hard to perceive information during 3 hours of lecture – it’s difficult to focus on what a teacher is saying, especially when instructors have monotonous voice.

Ksenia, who didn’t want to mention her surname, has that experience with Jakub Franek, Prof of Political Philosophy. ”Despite I was trying to concentrate on what he says, after one hour and half I lost the topic and fell asleep, because of his monotonous speech. The only thing I wanted was to have a break”, she remembered.

The reasons like smoking, staying in the same position for long time and deciding when to go to the toilet, because of the fear to miss important information in class, were mentioned as well.

Although, some teachers are trying to give a break to students based on their needs. Robert Horvitz, Prof. of Digital Tools for New Media, puts the Power Point presentation together imagining how much time it would take to go though the slides. He tries to shape the content differently to create breaks. He said that he would agree about the official policy of regular breaks. ”I’ll give a try”, he added.

The issue on break times should be taken into consideration by the administration. AAU needs to hear its students – the school promotes environment of democracy and freedom of speech. Hopefully, in the nearest future university would create a rule, concerning the break policy.

By Irina Alifanova