A Publication for SSA Students by SSA Students

The Nest.

The Nest.

A Publication for SSA Students by SSA Students

Looking Ahead:
  • Dove Market - 11/29 (2:00 Dismissal)
  • Senior Sleepover - 11/30
  • Junior Retreat and Senior Outreach/No Classes for 8th, 9th, 10th - 12/1
  • Advent Prayer Service - 12/4
  • Pillar Night - 12/5
  • Choir Concert - 12/6
  • Adopt-a-Family Mass - 12/8
  • Gingerbread House/Cookie Bake-Off - 12/13
  • Exams - 12/15-12/20

The Nest.

The Nest.

How Do You Manage Your Time?
How Do You Manage Your Time?
Macee Fielding, Editor • Oct 19, 2023

Returning to school after summer break is always a pretty hard adjustment. Something about this year though has been more challenging than usual...

[REAL]ationship Advice
[REAL]ationship Advice
Raquel Martinez, Staff Writer • Oct 18, 2023

Saint Augustine of Hippo once said, “To love is to will the good of the other,” and, “The measure of love is to love without measure.”...

Photo By: Haley Hebert
Every Body is a Beach Body
Haley Hebert, Staff Writer • Apr 26, 2023

Spring break: a time of fun, sunburns, beaches and lots of preparation. Hundreds of dollars are spent on clothes, swimsuits and beach houses...

Photo By: Georgetown Behavioral Hospital
S.A.D. for the Holidays?
Madeleine Nolan, Staff Writer • Dec 12, 2022

When one thinks of seasonal depression, she may just associate it with a “blue Christmas” or not having a significant other during the holidays....

Active Minds and Mental Health Awareness Week
Active Minds and Mental Health Awareness Week
Lila Brown, Staff Writer • Nov 16, 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week just took place from October 2 through October 8. It was started by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)...

“Just time”: A Deeper Look Inside U Block

Image by Isabel Medina-Reed

The Dean of Students, Amanda Fraisse, explained that U Block was designed to provide students with “Just time. Time to decompress, study, socialize, etc.” Over the years, many students have found themselves overwhelmed with the workload of SSA’s collectively advanced classes. While this workload is intended to prepare students for college, some feel it has disrupted not only their extracurricular activities but also their learning in classes. Students have been adamant about including a study period in the daily schedule and this year we got U Block. Now that we are three months into the 2023-2024 school year, we can reflect on how has U Block impacted students thus far.

According to the U Block Poll, a majority of students spend their time during the new block catching up with friends. U Block is not specifically reserved for academics; rather, it is intended for students’ varied needs, allowing time for a mental health break. Additionally, makeups or club meetings are not allowed, ensuring the full 30 minutes remain dedicated to students’ use, without academic or extracurricular obligations.

Snacking is the second most popular activity according to the poll. Eating during U Block has become more popular as the cafeteria also offers a second breakfast. Students embrace second breakfast and rush to the cafeteria to grab a bagel or a bag of chips. Some students do not arrive in time for the 7:30 a.m. breakfast at school, so the meal at 10:20 a.m. provides students with an opportunity to have three meals a day or to enjoy a snack. This also helps eliminate food waste; the cafeteria is able to distribute more breakfasts and feed more students than before. 

While most students use U Block for non-academic purposes, a reported 70.6 percent of 303 SSA students use U Block to work on homework and 65 percent to study. This helps combat feelings of being overwhelmed; students save time and get ahead on their work. Junior Addie Altland expressed that when she initially learned of U Block, she “was excited to have a break between classes to be able to get work done as well as just having a mental break between classes.” SSA students are high achievers and often have many extracurricular activities; a period of time where they can work on homework helps mitigate stress.

U-Block Poll Results
Bar graph showing results from the poll
Bar graph showing results from the poll

I asked the student body how they spend their time during U-Block. Of the 303 students responding, most girls spend their time eating a snack, talking to friends, studying or doing homework, getting help from teachers, and buying PJs drinks. Some also spend this time sitting outside, playing games in the gym, walking around campus or going to the library.

I enjoy spending my U-Block taking a breather from all schoolwork and enjoying a snack with friends.

How much do you have in common with the rest of the girls in school?


So far this year, U Block has been exceedingly beneficial for students and their mental health, as well as for their busy schedules. The administration has set a precedent that, with collective student persistence, they are willing to hear our demands and make efforts to meet them for our benefit. Fraisse expresses her hopes for the future: “We are not quite sure yet where the U Block will take us, but wherever it does, our number one priority will always be giving ‘our girls’ the support they need to be successful.”

About the Contributor
Isabel Medina-Reed, Staff Reporter
Isabel is a senior at SSA. This is her first year writing for The Nest. She is a member of the cross-country and bowling teams. She enjoys going to concerts and listening to music.