Balancing the Stresses of Life

Finally arriving home after eight hours of school only to remember you have eight more hours of homework to squeeze in to your tight schedule has got to be one of the most stressful feelings in the world. A large number of high school students experience this feeling every day.

Students of the modern era are under an enormous amount of stress, trying to juggle social lives, family lives, sports, extracurricular activities, and school. High school students are given too much homework, for the wrong reasons, resulting in excess stress and non-sufficient amounts of sleep. The load of schoolwork most students have to manage is simply intolerable. Not only do students work for eight hours a day, but when they get home they are not able to relax because they have piles of homework that they need to complete. Immediately after school, the majority of students have some sort of extracurricular activity to attend, such as a sport.

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After that strenuous day of school and the exhausting practice, all that teenagers want to do is go to sleep, which is also what they should be doing at midnight. Instead, what students of this generation must do, with their eyelids fighting them every step, is homework. Memorize the presentation for Italian class, read that act of Midsummer’s Night Dream, do the math problems from the textbook, finish the biology lab, study for that huge history test, and be called lazy if they fail to do it all. The American Psychological Association ran some tests that show “teens report that their stress level during the school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy… and tops adults’ average reported stress levels” (American Psychological Association). Every school day of every school week of every school year, this is what students are experiencing. The stress levels never stop rising as teenagers make their way through the year and struggle to keep up with their work while slowly watching their grades plummet because the combination of it all is just too much to handle.

Sleep is a vital part of life. According to CNN, “Sleep deprivation in children is… what the Academy of Pediatrics calls “one of the most common — and easily fixable — public health issues in the U.S. today” (CNN). Despite this, sleep is forced to come second to school in the eyes of most students, as it is expected of them to do the impossible. By the time teenagers are done with homework at one in the morning, they are undoubtedly exhausted and collapse into a sleep that they wish could last for much longer than it does.

But, no matter what time students get to bed, the alarm clock goes off at 6:00 a.m. every morning. The tired student is expected to get up with a smile on his face and repeat the whole grueling day of learning and testing over, but this time running on 5 hours of sleep. Why are teenagers given so much homework and stress in school? One could blame this on the teachers, saying they should not assign as much as they do, but the fact of the matter is they have a curriculum they must abide by that sets the standards. One could very easily trace this curriculum, and the excessive testing high school students are given, back to the government.

On the U.S. Department of Education website, it clearly states “Despite the growth of the Federal role in education, the Department never strayed far from what would become its official mission: to promote… preparation for global competitiveness” (U.S. Department of Education).

The federal government is increasing its involvement in schools in order to have students learn everything a little earlier and try to compete with other nations. But why does the United States need to have kids learn things at an earlier age? What difference will it make if a child learns how to read when he is two or when he is six? Just because the first child learned earlier does not guarantee he will be smarter. Pushing the curriculum back is increasing the stress levels and the workloads tremendously. The teenagers caught in the middle of this jump struggle to learn at a faster pace and are expected to have learned things they did not thanks to the ever-changing system. The United States does not need to focus on competing with foreign nations for the highest standardized test scores; the U.

S. needs to focus on itself and enriching its population without over-stressing its students. Students are under too much stress due to the excessive amount of work they are given. What it really comes down to id that teenagers need more sleep. Expecting students to learn every day and retain information on an insufficient amount of sleep is unrealistic and, quite frankly, cruel. Students would be able to think more critically and understand topics faster on a full nights’ rest.

Homework quantities need to be reduced, not increased, as is the common trend. Give teenagers their lives back. Works Cited “American Psychological Association Survey Shows Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults.” Http://www.apa.

org. N.p., 11 Feb. 2014. Web.

23 Oct. 2014. “Federal Role in Education.” Federal Role in Education. N.p.

, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014. Snider, Terra Ziporyn.

“Let Kids Sleep Later.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web.

22 Oct. 2014.