Students of McMahon are plagued with anxiety and the stress of their deadlines as the first quarter comes to a quick end on Monday, November 5. Hallways reek of declining curiosity and stress, and it’s only the beginning of the year. Students drown in their stress on a daily basis, and it leaves them wondering if the struggle will ever end.
However, what if the solution lies inside the simple flick of a switch in the classroom and the exclusive reliance on daylight to do what it does best: provide the light?
A 1992 study by Rikard Küller and Carin Lindsten compared students exposed to direct sunlight through windows and students under only to fluorescent lights.
“Work in classrooms without daylight may upset the basic hormonal pattern, and this in turn may influence the children’s ability to concentrate or cooperate,” researchers concluded in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Another study conducted in 2004 by Akdeniz University students on Turkish nurses concluded that, “Half of 141 nurses had more than three hours of daylight exposure per day… those with more than three hours were less stressed and more satisfied with their work.”
It’s not just those in the working in the medical field or children from overseas; it is a preference even felt at McMahon.
“You’re in school, and you do feel like you’re in prison… but then when you see the daylight, it’s like there’s an outside. For me, it’s like a breath of reality, and there’s a world besides school… like this isn’t my life,” said Tommy Carrano (‘21).
Being under the pressure of five honors classes, Carrano thoroughly believes in a physiological difference in a classroom with windows and natural light.
“I prefer natural lights, even in my house. I turn off all the lights and try to use the sunlight. I usually try to use natural light for as long as I can,” said Niamh Linehan (‘21).
Before interrupting her, Linehan was in the middle of looking at primary sources, embraced by the soft hue of light emitting only from the open ceiling of Choir teacher Acari’s room.
English teacher Juliana Stabach consistently practices the reliance on natural sunlight herself and limits her use of fluorescent lights as much as she can.
“I rely heavily on daylight… instead of any artificial light because it creates… not such an artificial office feeling. It creates more of a cozy, comfortable feeling, and that's essentially what you want your students to feel like in your classroom: comfortable and not stressed out.”
With McMahon being home to many anxious hearts, there is no harm in implementing such practices that could help improve the overall mental health of the school.