Homework load causes stress and sleep deprivation

Illustration by Raya Shoilekova

Illustration by Raya Shoilekova

Caroline O'Shaughnessy , asst. features editor

Senior Zack Lehman looks up from his homework, his clock flashes two a.m. and he knows he needs to be at school bright and early the next morning, but he still isn’t finished. This seems to be a common theme among South students; out of 364 people surveyed, 76% of students said they have lost sleep due to the homework load and 72% of students have attended school when sick so they don’t fall behind.

Sophomore Sydney Boland attended school with whiplash and a concussion she received during a soccer game. Boland explained she attended school because she feared she would miss out, something many South students experience, according to the survey results.

“I don’t want to fall behind in my classes and I feel like I would miss something really important when I’m not there,” Boland said.

According to social worker Katherine Paplinski, stress is a real problem in the high school environment, even with the block schedule.

“Homework is definitely a large contributor to stress of students,” Paplinski said. “Although this has decreased since the block schedule, the academic demands of high school are very real and can be difficult to balance, especially when you consider all of the other aspects in a high schooler’s life.”

Lehman believes some teachers seem to understand that if you aren’t at school, there is a valid reason, others are more harsh and expect their homework done.

“One time I was over a toilet throwing up profusely,” Lehman said. “I emailed my teacher and he said that I better have the work done by next class.”

Lehman says that grades are a driving factor for attendance when sick, so much that students end up at school even if they aren’t feeling well.

According to NationWideChildrens.org., growing teenagers should get nine-and-a-half  hours of sleep. Lehman explains he rarely ever gets over five hours of sleep.

“Typically I get home around eight but homework keeps me up until about two—anytime before two is a blessing,” Lehman said.

The question at the end of the day is: do South students choose to finish the assignment or get a few extra hours of much needed shut eye? Sophomore Katherine Schurer, along with many others, believes sleep is more important than homework.

“I don’t think students should be losing a lot of sleep for homework because then that causes them to be tired for the next school day and not focus as well,” Schurer said. “This just causes a chain reaction throughout the week.”