Stressed out? From the looks of it, your fellow students are, too. Students are asked to do more today than ever before. Colleges are concentrating more on community involvement, and still expecting good grades and test scores. Students are involving themselves in draining activities that they don’t love because they think they should. With the pressure to get good grades, be involved in extracurricular activities, spend time with family and friends, and volunteer, it’s a wonder any of us get any sleep! And in many cases, we don’t. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, only eight percent of teens get as much sleep as they should on a regular school night. So how does this affect students in our school? How much homework do we do? What do we think about the pressures put on students?
One junior said that she does one or two hours of homework on an average school night, but “a lot more” on the weekends, and she’s involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. “I’m involved in Chesapeake Youth Orchestra, church activities, tutoring at school, Cosmic Orchestra, regular school orchestra, church orchestra, violin lessons, NHS, All-County orchestra, Tri-County orchestra, and I teach at church; I think that’s it.” She enjoys all these activities, but says that it can be stressful to be involved in all of them and still do well in school.
A sophomore, when asked what she thought about how much pressure is put on students, said, “I think school puts too much pressure on student with AP [classes] and doing dual college programs. Schools encourage students to do everything really fast, rather than do what’s best for them.” Many students would agree with this. Advanced Placement classes and dual college programs put a lot of pressure on students to do college-level work in high school, which isn’t necessary and so stressful that some schools are starting to get rid of their AP programs.
One senior said “I get about six or seven hours of sleep on a school night, and do around five or six hours of homework.” When asked if doing so much homework was stressful, the senior said, “Well, I’d rather be busy and stressed than a bum.”
Another junior said, “I do about three hours of homework and get about six hours of sleep, depending on practice. Teachers don’t understand we have lives outside of school. I’m a musician who plays with several different orchestras out of county and has to put in numerous hours of practice. I don’t have time to do pointless assignments for homework.” This is a common concern among students with extracurriculars. Homework that doesn’t seem to accomplish anything but takes up a large chunk of our time is a big stressor.
So, the consensus seems to be that students in Leonardtown have a lot to do, and all the pressure bothers them.
But what can we do to fix it? Well, teachers could try to give less homework, and make what they do assign more meaningful. Students don’t have a problem with homework itself, just what they see as “busy work.” Students can help themselves, too. We shouldn’t be involved in every activity that comes our way because we think we have to. We should pick a few that we really love and stick with them.
Students can also help themselves by sleeping as much as they should when they can. According to The National Sleep Foundation, teens need 9.25 hours of sleep to function well. If you’re done with your homework and it’s 11:30, go to bed! Your brain will thank you in the morning.