The Meticulous Art of Free Perioding


By Gabe Schwartzman

Senioritis is truly a nasty disease; it’s one that has ravaged senior populations for centuries. A disease that is currently eating away at the flesh of the class of 2023. Although it is still in an early incubation stage, a series of symptoms have already begun to show face. The most obvious being: the uncontrollable urge to try and obtain as many free periods as humanly possible.

Instead of comparing cars or followers, the new true indicator of one’s overall status and supremacy as a Tamalpais High School senior is decided by how many free periods one has managed to accumulate. It has become a running competition amongst the class of 2023, to see who is able to attend the least amount of school, while still remaining within the parameters of legality. “Screw ditching school,” we said, “let’s just administratively drop all unrequired classes and still graduate with perfect attendance while only attending school for an hour and a half a day.”

These students take such extreme pride in obtaining new free periods, especially ones that no one believed were possible. I once saw two seniors hug and embrace for a full minute after one of them managed to drop their AP Bio class. “I’m so proud of you,” the other student said. 

On another occasion, I witnessed a kid being carried out of the scheduling office atop a bejeweled throne held up by four other students, while champagne bottles popped and fireworks were shot off not far in the distance; I heard he dropped Calculus.

In truth, it is an art form; Freeperioding, that is. An art form that takes years to master (four, to be exact), and is not for the faint of heart. A select few members of the senior class have achieved such a deep understanding of the intricacies and details of scheduling loopholes that it is truly awe-inspiring. There is one senior who, in my opinion, managed to pull off one of the greatest heists in Tam High scheduling history. This man, who will remain anonymous, managed to initially obtain a free fourth and seventh period, which he then topped with a free fifth and sixth period, as a result of dropping a Teacher’s Assistant class and replacing a Tam course with an online one, all while maintaining an above average GPA and in the eyes of the administration, being a fully enrolled Tam student. If that doesn’t immediately fire you up, I don’t know what will.

“Not everyone can do what I do,” the anonymous free-period person said. “I spent countless sleepless nights going over the game plan in my head. Now to see it come to fruition, I couldn’t be happier. I want to thank my team in my corner, and of course my parents, I could never have done this without you.”

I recall many of my friends showing me their schedules at the beginning of the year and all I remember is that the majority of them had more blank spaces than a Taylor Swift music video. I think one of them even wrote “AP Free Period” in place of their English class. 

  This then begs a final question: how much better of a place would the world be if these Tam seniors put the energy they put into getting free periods into something more productive? For all I know, we could’ve achieved world peace by now.