Auditorium AIM: Can we fix it? Please?


Gourav Pany

Junior Caroline Blair attempts to study during AIM in the auditorium.

Gourav Pany, Website Editor

When I first went to the auditorium for AIM, my first thought was: this is going to be utterly horrible.

I was undercover, observing the way the other half lives. The people who don’t choose AIM locations. The people who, under the weight of academic stress, forget to sign up for AIM. The people who, for some twisted reason, love being graced by the dim lights, cold air and table-less environment of the auditorium.

I saw things. Things that horrified me as a self-proclaimed scholar. I saw these teenage boys and girls, hunched over their phones like a plant trying to capture sunlight, contorting their bodies to find a comfortable position on the theater seats. I saw kids creating a racket for the sole reason of being a “comedic” nuisance to teachers. I heard clattering and shattering as members of the tech crew arranged their items clumsily.

To be frank, AIM in the auditorium does not work. Yes, there is assigned seating, but it doesn’t help make the environment of the auditorium any better. People still move around. People still talk. I could name at least three instances within a 30-yard radius of me where there were people moving around and talking with their friends while being incredibly distracting.

It’s nearly impossible to focus there. On the day I went to observe AIM, the kid sitting in front of me was blasting death metal into his earbuds so loud that I could hear every single cymbal. Every. Single. Cymbal. Apart from the horrid music taste scrambling my brain, the fact that there were people having uncensored, gruesome conversations and causing little events of mayhem all around the auditorium without the intervention of any of the teachers was disturbing and distracting.

I don’t personally blame the teachers. They have work to do. They cannot be expected to police around 100 students, maybe more, with a task force of three, maybe four, in a space large enough to host an entire choir concert.

But what makes the auditorium even worse is the lack of working space. It doesn’t seem so bad at first, but the discomfort is real, especially when you need to do an assignment that involves your iPad and paper. I saw this one kid who had his iPad balanced precariously on his knees, while writing on a piece of paper, when turned to the side, on the little space the armrests of the auditorium seats provide.

In short, the AIM in the auditorium is one of the worst times and places to study, period. Not only is it unproductive as a concept, but the environment lends itself to be even more discouraging to productivity. The lights are so dim that when I looked up from my “Scarlet Letter” book, I saw everything in the point-of-view of a 0.5 zoom camera angle. Literally, the guy next to me looked like an overstretched carrot.

I won’t mince words: someone has to do something about this. I personally feel like the Hall of Excellence would be so much better for studying.

Get this: it actually has tables. The lights are brighter than an abandoned cave. This switch from the auditorium should not be that difficult if students’ academic needs are considered and reflected upon in policy choices.

Plus, why are we sending students to a non-classroom location anyways? Why can we not send students to random, relatively empty classrooms instead? All it takes is a reprogramming of the AIM system, and this problem is fixed.

AIM in the auditorium is broken. Everyone knows that. Now the question is: can we please fix it?