High school stress has harmful effects

Jansen Hess, Sports Editor

A couple months ago, I saw a documentary that finally brought two underlying problems to the surface: homework and stress.
All I hear in the mornings at school is “I want to go home,” “I want to take a nap,” or “I don’t want to be here.”
The documentary I saw, “A Race to Nowhere,” discussed how students are so stressed with homework and school, they don’t have time to live life anymore. They become sleep deprived or develop stress-related illnesses — one girl even committed suicide because she was so overwhelmed with stress.
Students are losing motivation to be in school and to actually learn because of the excessive amounts of homework that have to be finished every night. It’s like having 11 hours of school instead of only seven.
Yes, I understand, some homework is mandatory. Students can’t learn all the information in a 50-minute class period. We get it. But what’s the deal with all this extra work? Does it really make a difference if I read two extra passages about John Locke and complete a book scavenger hunt so I can ‘get to know my literature textbook?’ No.
The way I see it, most homework is pretty pointless.
If I know how to do something, why do I need to keep doing it? If I don’t know how to do something, what’s the point of attempting the problems? It would just frustrate and confuse me even more.
“A Race to Nowhere” featured an AP biology teacher who cut his students’ homework load in half. Guess what happened to his students’ test scores?
They went up.
It’s probably because his students were actually focusing in class — absorbing and retaining all the information being taught instead of vigorously copying down notes or trying to get a head start on the night’s assignment.
Has anyone noticed how after a test we all magically forget everything we just learned?
Yeah, that’s because we don’t pay attention in class, most likely because we’re tired. Because we don’t get enough sleep. Because we’re up all night doing homework.
The sad thing is it’s not just homework that has to be done. We have so many other things we have to do or could be doing with our lives.
Things like learning how to live life instead of hiding from the world behind a textbook.
Maybe if we weren’t so focused on getting the 4.0 we’ve strived for since birth, the teenage population might have an ounce of common sense.
I realize being book smart is important, but we also need to be street smart. I have some of the smartest friends, but when it comes to the simplest of problems outside the school’s doors, they’re absolutely clueless.
Living the sheltered life isn’t exactly ideal sometimes. We need to experience the world. We need to be free to make mistakes and learn from them, and no, I’m not talking about the mistakes we make on a math test.
Problem is, we don’t have time to make mistakes, screw up or even get sent to our rooms.
We could be out enjoying ourselves and taking advantage of the last few years of our adolescence, but no, instead we’re stressing over the six FRQs, three-page papers and worksheets all due tomorrow.

How do you feel about stress? Is there something you think teachers or schools should do to improve the situation? Leave a comment.