Students from every academic building were flooding the sidewalks, almost running home to their beloved pastel porches, subtle grins on their faces.
Lively music bounced through the neighborhoods as students sat in their Walmart lawn chairs, humming to the tune of “Come On Eileen” and waving to strangers.
It was approximately 3:20 p.m. on a Friday, the official start of the weekend for University of Dayton students. With classes not allowed to go past this time, most students are done with their weekly activities. This end to the week causes exponential spikes in happiness levels.
“It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said neighborhood resident Anna Rose Redgate. “It’s the one time in the week where it feels like everyone can take a little break.”
With students averaging 15 credit hours per semester, the workload isn’t easy. Adding an on-campus job or co-op makes schedules even tighter. Students are working toward Friday by the hour.
“The only Fridays I didn’t like were the accounting block ones,” said accounting major Lindsey Ondracek. “A pack of us walked to Miriam while everyone else got to go home.”
UD students say the campus has a special feeling at this time – an unspoken urge of freedom, pushing them into a stress-free couple of days.
“There’s almost a different air on a Friday afternoon,” said Art Street resident Meghan Konen. “It’s as if everyone on the block knows it’s been a stressful week and we all go out on the porch to let off some steam.”
UD students take this time to relax and unwind with their friends and neighbors. Friday at 3:20 p.m. means eating Chipotle on a porch swing, going for a walk down the block or playing cornhole in the side yard.
“I enjoy doing my rounds on a Friday afternoon because it’s just happy—no noise complaints, no write ups, just people enjoying the day,” said North Neighborhood Fellow Morgan Weiss.
With warm weather on the horizon, students are taking advantage of this “golden hour.” This time isn’t meant for partying; it’s meant for relaxing. Students are roller blading, bike riding and even playing hockey.
The Princeton Review surveyed 138,000 students at 384 schools in 2017, asking them if they are happy at their school. When concluding which campuses nationwide were the happiest, the University of Dayton was ranked No. 12.
“There’s got to be a direct correlation between the weather and a college students happiness level,” said neighborhood resident Kara Gillespie. “My parents would probably be happy to know we’re playing outside like kids on a sunny day.”
With about four weeks of the semester left, students are doing everything they can to enjoy it. Struggling to look at a laptop screen in the sun or sweating while doing that last homework problem in the grass all becomes worth it.
With every failed exam, tough class or rough day comes a simple hour on Friday when students know it can all be forgotten.
A timestamp that ends the week and starts a weekend ends the worries and starts the bliss.
Cover photo courtesy of Christian Cubacub. Internal photo courtesy of Sean Newhouse.