According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 80 percent of American high school students are graduating from high school. This has been increasing over the last decades. But, how great is school anyways? On top of all of our other extra curricular activities, how much does school impact our lives?
Do We Even Sleep?
On average, Teenage students need at least 9 1/2 hours of sleep for well performance along with health and brain development. The average a teenager sleeps now on school nights ranges around 7 hours of sleep. National Sleeps Foundation has stated that Skipping sleep can be harmful to yourself. Being sleep deprived makes it harder for you to feel well, do well on exams, and overall perform well. Sleep helps us manage the daily things we need to live, such as, breathing, eating and drinking, and stress that is brought on as a teenager.
Also, National Sleep Foundation mentions that with the adolescence body, when it is time to get up for school the body still thinks it is the middle of the night so the body does not feel rested or alert.
All these effects tie back to the problem with school, the start time and the late night effects of studying and homework.
Effect of After School Activities
School before sports. The motto that is taught to all athletes. Most athletes in high school sports spend at least two hours after school practicing. Even after these two hours, many athletes still have to manage a sizable homework load. Adding onto this, game days can be overwhelming with homework, whether you have to stay and support the rest of the teams, or the struggle to get your homework done on the bus during away games. It is also difficult to get work done during sports games because of the loud noises and other distractions.
We are told to leave the stress and negative feelings outside of the gym but, in reality, most of the stress comes from sports. The pressure to succeed from society is emphasized on winning and this can be overwhelming for a teenager. Pressure from coaching can also add onto this stress. When athletes are yelled at or being pulled out of games for doing something wrong, we then begin to be trained to be afraid to “make mistakes”.
Should High Schools’ Start School Later Than Elementary Schools?
Bringing back the previous topic, with students not performing as well in school due to lack of sleep and after school activities, has the question world wide, if elementary schools should begin earlier than high schools. As high school students, we normally do not get to bed until 11 p.m. We then have to wake up in the middle of a deep sleep the next morning around 5-6 a.m. to catch buses or arrival to early starting schools. Elementary schools begin their day around 9:15 to 9:30. If High Schools began later, more students could catch up on sleep and not create a huge sleep debt.
We are still growing during these adolescent ages and our brains and bodies need all the rest it can get from being able to have the 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep instead of 5-6.
As teenagers, we are constantly trying to keep up on our social life with friends and family. Throughout growing up, the free time as high school students diminishes due to all the preparation for test, homework, and other activities such as church or sports we attend as well. Most of the school days, it is hard to have a well structured conversation with a parent about your day because you are too focused on trying to get your work done so you are able to go to bed at a decent time. Social life becomes smaller due to a busy schedule of a teenage high school student.
Stress and School
Teens across the U.S. have been feeling high levels of stress that has affected a huge aspect of their lives. 27% of students reported that they feel extreme stress during the school year compared to 13% feeling stressed in the summer. Most students tend to have multiple tests on the same day, leading to the stress of knowing each subject well enough but also keep them apart from each other as you study for each exam. Factors of stress have included neglecting school or household chores. Also a huge factor is in moods. As some reported being angry and “snapping” at people. I believe that the stress level in high school is focused on the performance of our work to be perfect for college.
Most teens would say that explaining the reason for stress is hard enough for why we do certain things. For example, procrastinating, but in some cases this may or may not have a correlation to stress.
The factors school can have break into many of the roots to teenagers’ problems. For example of what was talked about before as in; poor teen sleep habits that do not allow for enough hours of quality sleep, hectic schedules with after school activities and jobs, homework hours and family obligations, and a clash between societal demands, all have an influence on what is expected of us to be sophisticated students in today’s growing economy.