School: sucking out happiness?

Most high school students’ minds revolve around the same things: a high GPA, good grades, college, and getting a good career. All of this sounds great, but is this really what the high school experience is all about? Countless hours of homework, studying, and little sleep shouldn’t be the sole concern of children.

The fact that students are measured on how well they perform on one test, rather than their life successes is farcical. How are students supposed to fit in family time, socializing with friends, after school activities, clubs, and even sports with six hours of homework every night? The seamless, well-rounded paradigm student that colleges seek is impossible for anyone to perfect. A pupil with straight As, a perfect GPA and the opportunity to a great college may look ecstatic on the outside, but are they really happy on the inside? Those good grades do not come easily, and some teachers don’t appreciate all of that hard work. Good grades come with sleepless nights, pressure from parents, and maybe even depression. Is this what the world has come to, where students give up everything that makes them happy, just to get into college? All of this stress is doing a number on children’s growing bodies, affecting their psychological state and even their bodies.

Studies show that most picture perfect teens with a flawless report card and an awesome track record are depressed or have dealt with depression at one point in their lives. Not only depression, but also school stress can lead to weight loss, stomach problems, headaches, and the lack of sleep. Research shows that students who don’t sleep well do not perform well in school. But it’s hard for students to juggle sleep, activities, and homework, so most students choose to get no sleep. It’s impossible to be able to get sleep AND good grades, so usually grades are the top priority.

56% of students say that homework is the top stress in their life, and 43% said that tests cause the most stress. The leftover 1% of those students said school wasn’t the top stress in their life, which means school is the main stress for 99% of students. A study shows that at least 20% of Ivy League scholars self harm themselves due to the amount of weight they put on their backs. Some students even resort to abusing drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress of their rigorous courses. Sometimes the stress of grades even leads to cheating, which 95% of high school kids have agreed to doing.

This causes children at young ages to isolate themselves from everything and everyone who satisfies them, including family and friends. Some parents encourage their kids to study for hours, but others are worried that their children are unhappy. Children shouldn’t have to alienate themselves from their family just to get a single letter on a piece of paper. School is sucking all of the pleasure out of the lives of students, and teens forget to enjoy their youthful years. In the end school, homework, studying, and good grades doesn’t even guarantee that a good college and career is in the future. Colleges these days look for well-rounded students, and being a student with experience in many areas isn’t easily achievable.

It isn’t fair that a student who wants to go to medical school has to take history, or that a student going to art school has to take math. High schools should let students venture into their own personal interests, not a strict schedule. It’s not like students are or will want to perform well in a class they have no interest in. Schools need to consider the fact that students have bustling lives outside of school, and hours of work is sometimes counterproductive. A Stanford professor researched that only ninety minutes to two hours of homework is necessary for high school students to meet their academic obligations, not several hours. Of course the purpose of homework is for students to reinforce the material learned in class into their heads, but is hours of it isn’t necessary.

Most students see homework as “ pointless”, and homework should be designed with a specific purpose and benefit for the student, not just filler work. These teenage years are supposed to be the best times of people’s lives, so schools should recognize their students achievements and do the best they can to give their kids freedom and joy.