Heavy school workload results in poor student habits

Gwyn Skiles, asst. opinions editor

How many more times do we have to say it? We need more sleep and less homework.

As a junior, I find myself drowning in the work I have to do, the amount of notes I have to take, and the amount of tests I have to study for. I wake up at 5:00 in the morning to finish any last minute homework, head to Early Bird PE, spend my full SRT studying, head to my extracurriculars at the end of the day for two hours, head home, crank out more homework, go to bed around 11:00, and repeat the same schedule the rest of the week.

I find that my peers tend to have similar schedules as mine. Some get four hours of sleep a day, not nearly close to the nine hours recommended for teenagers. Many of my peers have adopted unhealthy habits such as drinking espresso and Redbull for breakfast, just so they can stay awake in class. Staying inside on the weekends, hunched over a stack of papers instead of socializing with friends, and spending time with family is a common reality for me and other students. The evidence of the excessive work students receive is there and has been for some time, yet I haven’t seen a decrease in the amount of work assigned.

I think students are curious. I always find that I lean forward more in my chair when discussing historical events or watching documentaries. However, the amount of homework assigned and the pressure to get A’s dulls my curiosity. Learning starts to feel like a chore rather than something that drives me. The percentages that appear on PowerSchool make my peers and I more anxious than inspired: the opposite of what school should be doing.

Students and teachers get two days to regroup after five days of work. However, the amount of work given to students is so large that often this allotted time for relaxation is spent finishing work, and we aren’t awarded the time we need to relax. One solution would be to avoid assigning projects over the weekend. On late arrival days, avoid assigning homework the night before so students can catch up on sleep instead of waking up at the same time to complete assignments. On winter and spring break, don’t assign projects so we can fully relax instead of just getting more time to do work.

I understand that there is a certain amount of curriculum that needs to be completed in the year, but I don’t think our school needs to sacrifice the well-being of students to do so. I recognize the good the school is doing to encourage good habits such as providing therapy dogs during finals week. We have mandatory health classes that outline how to manage stress, and the new P, L, N system for Regular Physics classes emphasizes the value in learning. However, the health of our students is something that needs improvement.

Let’s tackle this issue together so we can learn. Let’s put our health before PowerSchool and allow ourselves time to let ourselves explore beyond what is in our textbooks. Let’s get to a point where we don’t need to say “we need more sleep and less homework” any longer.