Best Seat in the House

2016-09-05-31

by Julia Carrigan ‘20

The comfort with which you learn affects the rate at which you learn. The community at George School revolves around the comfort of our learning environment, and at the root of comfort are the chairs you sit in every day.

As surely all the students of George School know, learning is a very important part of the school experience, and the comforting environment in which you learn here is what makes our community shine. No matter how wonderful the teachers or engaging the curriculum, one cannot be in a comfortable learning environment while sitting in an uncomfortable chair.

After surveying the student body about the chairs in various buildings, it was determined that the community liked chairs in McFeely and the Molly Dodd Anderson Library best. The chairs averaged almost an entire point higher than the next highest chairs.

These may not seem like large numbers, but in order for the average to get this high, at least 6 people (of those who completed the survey) had to rate the chair 10 out of 10. In order for a chair to qualify as a 10/10 chair, the student must be willing to “carry that chair around with them everywhere because they love it so much.”

If students were being honest in their responses, I would warn McFeely that a few chairs may go missing within the next few weeks.

Not only were these chairs rated highly, they were also the only ones no one rated zero. In order for a chair to qualify as a 0/10 chair, that student must be willing to “personally buy and bring around a different chair rather than sit in that chair”. Surprisingly enough, these were the only chairs to not have at least three people rate them a 0.

The chairs rated the lowest during the survey were the ones in Retford and the Dining Hall. They averaged almost an entire point lower than those above them. Eight people rated the chairs in the dining hall 0/10, and 7 people rated the chairs in Retford 0/10.

Despite their low scores, two people voted the chairs in the Dining Hall and Retford 10/10, so at least 4% of those who took the survey find comfort in the chairs most others dislike. As the common phrase goes: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Some in the George School community find serious comfort in the chairs that others detest.

The data shows us that there are interesting similarities between the two most popular chairs. The bottoms of the chairs have two flat pieces that curve to meet the seats. In fact, these chairs both go by the same names: they are ‘sled base’ chairs.

The sled base bottom allows students to easily slide a large bag under their seat, allowing for maximum space in the classroom. The backs of both chairs are just slightly curved, allowing for proper backrest and posture, as well as multiple seating positions. The chair does not have hand rests nor is it attached to any sort of desk, allowing students to sit in whatever way they please without being worried about bumping against uncomfortable surfaces. Meanwhile, the feet are placed to allow for the chairs to adjust comfortably when students lean forward or backward.

A difference between the chairs in McFeely and those in the Molly Dodd Anderson Library are their materials. The McFeely chairs seem to be made of some sort of wood, allowing for a bit of bounciness in the seat. They are so light that they’ll tip over in an instant when burdened with a backpack. The chairs in the library are much heavier and seem to be made of a dense ceramic-like material.

The chairs people dislike, on the other hand, don’t seem to have obvious similarities. The dining hall chairs are small and wooden, while the Retford chairs are made of a concrete-like material with a desk attached.

There is somewhat of a trend among the most uncomfortable chairs on campus, as the seats in upstairs Bancroft, which ranked third worst across campus, also have attached desks, similar to those in Retford. Therefore, it is quite possible that students prefer chairs without arm rests or attached desks.

Although McFeely’s chairs were the most popular overall, there were still 14 people who rated them 5 or below. On a similar note,13 people rated Retford’s chairs, which turned out to be the least popular, a 6 or above.

Our typical school day revolves around chairs: we move from chair to chair going from class to class. Despite seat preferences, it is safe to say that every chair plays a part in the life of George School students, supporting the weight of their vigorous academic lives.

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Filed under A Day in the Life, Student Work, Students, The Curious George

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