After receiving all your homework from all your classes, you go home, take a little time to relax and as you glance over your phone, you find that three hours have gone by and it’s five.
Seven classes, seven different assignments. All different in length and amount of brain work needed. Now it’s seven, and you have only completed two out of the seven assignments, saving the hardest and strenuous for last. About to buckle down and get it all over with, you hear your mom calling your name from upstairs, “Dinner time!” You sit down, enjoy a meal with your family as your parents bombard you with questions. “How was school today?” “What classes do you have?” “What was your rose? Your thorn?”
You have finally managed to clear your dishes (come on, clear them) and now the time reads eight-thirty. You realize you are still in your clothes from school and you need to take a shower. Let’s tack on another fifteen minutes (or more…) and now it’s eight forty-five. You put on pajamas and start the last five homework assignments. You may not need to do all five, yet the last one, crucial for completion, is creating a three page essay based on notes in class. You know how your teacher grades, and understand that grammar as well as sentence structure is essential. Draft after draft goes by and you aren’t sure how to finish it. Your eyes start to glaze over and you wonder how long you have spent being a perfectionist. Eleven thirty. You decide the work you have done is the best it is going to get after almost three hours and begin to brush your teeth. After hours of work that you know will just be glanced over and stamped, you are in bed by eleven forty-five or twelve.
You daze off and the next thing you know a timer buzzes and it’s six thirty. Too early you say? Well so did we. Pushing class from eight am to nine thirty would allow students to sleep extra and give their brains time to start the day. But it’s six thirty, so get ready quick! You know if you don’t leave here by seven ten you’ll have to park by the field house, and you know the pain of lugging all that homework from the field house to the wood hall isn’t worth the risk.
Starting day two with less than the recommended hours of sleep, you are running low and begin to wonder whether you are reading gibberish or you are reading the math equations due at the end of class.
According to KidsHealth.org, Kids are recommended to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, yet this seems to be a problem for most teens. Not only is homework causing students to stay up late, but a hormone produced by the brain, Melatonin, is produced late at night, eventually ending in students becoming restless in the wee hours.
For many, coming home from six hours of school each day to then sit down and do homework, extra curricular activities, or work stretches a fifteen to eighteen year old student to their breaking point. By the end of the week, the amount of creativity or energy left is completely drained. Today, High schoolers are worked harder than they ever have been. The pressure for success concerning test taking, college exams, and grades doesn’t allow students to relax, enjoy time for creativity and hobbies, as well as get a full night’s sleep. According to the Marin IJ, “Our kids grow up in a very different society. One in which a B- on a third-grade English test is tantamount to wiping out any possible hope of ever attending any college that required more than a thumbprint and a pulse to get into.” We start racing for college and perfect grades at a young age. Some may think that this is a good headstart, yet to me, this is less time for kids to be kids.
Without the recommended hours of sleep, students can become easily irritable or easily willing to fall asleep in the middle of class. “Adequate sleep optimally impacts mental functioning and therefore impacts students’ performance on examinations and ultimately grades received,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Students with a limited sleep schedule (which are also the students most concerned about their grades) will end up struggling for an outcome that is less likely to occur with their sleep habits.
I am not trying to prove that highschool is corrupting the youth or pressuring students to succeed. Behind these walls, students are able to learn vital information on many different topics, letting those students sample what they like and don’t like. High school is important. Yet the 180 days (at least) that you spend here, busy work has been passed off as homework half the time. “Textbook Scavenger Hunt.” “Tell me about yourself.” Those are among the few that we students end up completing, staying up too late to be getting up too early.
High school, you are great. But please. If you want us to sit down and pay attention for six hours five days a week, let us enjoy the time given to us after school. Let us want to sit down and study for something we find interesting, or write the paper that inspires curiosity in us. We know we have requirements, but we also know the feeling of waking up too early and going to bed too late. We are running on empty! Give us time to refuel.