Protecting Protected Time

Protecting Protected Time

by Amy Austin '21

You may have heard about “protected time” around Graceland's campus and been confused, because there really is no set description. In fact, that open-ended and vague idea of a time period set aside is exactly the point of its implementation into Graceland's residence life here on campus.

Protected time is two separate time periods that Graceland has set aside during the week to allow students the opportunity to rest or do as they wish during these times. No practices, classes or events can be scheduled during these times to ensure the opportunity for everyone to take this time to relax as they choose without having to worry about finding the time to do that elsewhere.

The time periods set aside are from 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday mornings and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. While these time periods may be familiar to some as the times church services usually occur, students are not in any way required to take this time to worship, however they may do so if they wish.

Dave Schaal, Dean of Students at Graceland University, explains, "The central purpose of protected time is to give people an opportunity for rest, recreation and renewal."

He recognizes this practice is something that will be determined by each student, individually, based on preferences and what renews them most. "For some, that will include worship; for some, it will include time with friends, time in nature or just taking a nap."

Deb Skinner, Director of Residence Life, has recently taken a particular interest in protected time and believes that institutionalizing a set-aside time for residents of Graceland is a great first step to encouraging continued practice of nourishing ones' spirit throughout the rest life.

While Skinner points out her views are personal and not necessarily stated as her official capacity at Graceland, she says, “I think it is important, as an institution that values the whole person, for Graceland to deliberately focus on the spirit. We are more than just a mind and a body. Our spirit needs attention as well – in whatever method offers renewal for us. Work-life balance is a daily challenge and choice.”

Skinner also points to the growing issues of today's society and the multiple distractions advances in technology have provided us with, and she believes now, more than ever, it is the time to be intentional about taking breaks to focus on resting and restoring.

Students may not be aware that these steps for their well-being are taking place on this campus, however, utilizing this is a saving grace for students like myself, who can feel overwhelmed with the abundance of activities constantly taking place around campus.