Why We Need More Outings


Photo Credit: Br. Raphael

Ahh outings, the few days a year where a Form comes together to enjoy a day filled with activities that range from a match of Nukem to card games. Everyone loves them; however, there are just too few of them.  Middle Schoolers are graced with the opportunity of two outings, but as Cistercian students grow older and mature into Upper Schoolers, there is only one opportunity a year for this joyful day of play and camaraderie.  Because of their rarity, they are often met with great anticipation, and for good reason because these days always meet our expectations.  So, what gives?  Why are there so few outings and why do we not have more of them?

Studies show time and time again how vitally important breaks and physical activity are for students who spend most of their time in a cramped classroom.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Cognitive processing and academic performance depend on regular breaks from concentrated class-room work.  This applies equally to adolescents and to younger children.  To be effective, the frequency and duration of breaks should be sufficient to allow the student to mentally decompress.”  Even though this statement supports having more breaks throughout a single school day, logic follows that in a longer period of time like a whole school year, more day-long breaks would also be beneficial.  I think it is fair to say that more breaks from the constant flow of homework, essays, and tests could benefit the student body.  According to Preston Schnorbach (’22), “Outings are stress-free breaks from a high-pressure environment.”  More time to release stress while throwing a frisbee or climbing rock walls could be “just what the doctor ordered” for tired and weary Cistercian students just looking to have a little fun.

Also, I believe more outing opportunities would absolutely give students more things to look forward to.  There is nothing better than a day of play in the middle of a busy week to lighten the mood surrounding all kinds of work.  I, like the rest of the student body, really enjoy the free time that outings provide, as well as the opportunities to blow off steam that do not come very often in the life of a Cistercian student.  Too often it seems like there is not a lot of light at the end of the tunnel full of quizzes and hard exams, but I believe an increase in outings could enable many students to power through some of those challenging Cistercian times.

Another great aspect of outings is the opportunities they provide for form mates, masters, and even teachers to bond with one another. All of the activities that outings provide not only ensure that everyone will have a great time, but also allow students to see each other away from the stresses of the classroom. I remember multiple times during outings where I would hang out and play games with people whom I had rarely spent time with before, and this kind of bonding throughout a form is vital for the success of friendships and the development of brotherhood between the members of a Cistercian class.  All of the activities that outings provide allow students to see each other away from the stresses of the classroom.  I remember multiple times during outings where I would hang out with people whom I had rarely spent time with before, and this kind of bonding throughout a form is vital for the success of friendships and the development of brotherhood between the members of a Cistercian class.

I interviewed Br. Raphael Schaner to ask him if he thought outings were beneficial to a form.  His response was, “Yes, because it is important for a form to bond not only in the classroom but also on the athletic field in a non-formal environment.”  Occasions like outings help to bolster the feeling of brotherhood in a form—a feeling that many faculty members have often stressed as very important.

Throughout my four years at Cistercian Preparatory School, some of my fondest memories come from these pleasant days of being able to hang out and play with all of my brothers.  I believe the impact of at least one more outing in a school year could significantly increase morale and wellness for every Cistercian student because of the way they effectively build the feeling of camaraderie. Even though adding one more outing might cost us one day of school, gracing the student body with more opportunities to relax and grow closer to one another is truly priceless.