Op-ed: Finding balance amidst the crazy high school life

No matter the circumstance or presented situation, schools and the government expect quite a lot from high school students. Seemingly intolerable and outright demanding, tasks resemble catapulted objects hurled into the direction of unsuspecting students. Students receive these tasks before they can prepare or let alone recover from the previous onslaught of toilsome work. The monotonous insanity of schoolwork must ease and the agendas of effected students must accommodate the instilled expectations of topics that supposedly represent the aspects of "real life" as a whole.

To express that high school prepares students for their lives ahead of them represents a misleading, two-sided lie. In many professional fields, scholastic efforts truly do resemble what later employers may expect, but the workload of high school (as well as college) in comparison remains fairly unparalleled to the "real world." Endless hours of assigned projects, presentations, reports, and essays do not compare to the expectations of post-scholastic endeavors. An employer of a law firm would never approach their employee and assign them a ten-page packet detailing about the history of the judicial system. However, a law firm employer would expect their employee to actively engage and research the criminal background of their defendant. While any form of education suggests the basic processes and understandings of procedural means relating to a job or career, the workload and what has later been conveyed must be reapportioned towards a more individual, and personal experience. These experiences must not relate solely to what a student reads in a textbook, but to what pertains to the "real world" career aspirations of said student, or students.

With a determined focus and mindset towards the intensity of schoolwork, high school students often do not sleep as much as they should. This lack of sleep due to late-night studying or lengthy assignments following a cross country meet or madrigals practice produces detrimental effects such as depression or sleep neurosis. Sleep deprivation does not "create a better student;" it leads to drowsiness and unfocused cognitive processing. How can they say to get a "good night's rest" after a student already has seven hours of homework on top of studying for an exam that would drastically affect their grade? Sleep persists as a vital human need. With that, the human scholars that do need it should have the opportunity.

While unlimited and uninterrupted free-time seems assumed for successful high school students, this assumption does not represent a majority of students aspiring in extra- and intra- curricular activities. These selected people find themselves with a lack of time and harsh schedules that cannot tolerate modification. These tedious agendas represent an obligation. Obligations cannot simply be "pushed away" when faced with the "looming death" that compares to several hours of homework late at night, or inappropriately early in the morning. Activities have always been encouraged, but why does the workload, lack of sleep, and stress of eminent lateness remain the same?

In relation to these commitments and obligations, many students expect a tremendous amount just from themselves rather than of parents or teachers. The likeness of self-"perfection" and the fear of failure drive these avid learners to the action of surpassing their limits. The lack of restraint and the increasing difficulty of the high school curriculum ultimately break these perfectionists and scholars. It must be understood that, through any failure or success, a capital letter or a series of numbers does not define who they are; the actions and commitments to remaining unbroken conclusively define the student.

In all areas of scholastic achievement, educational blunder, or extra-/intra-curricular enterprise, what is being strived for holds a consistently true value of effort, commitment, and an undying passion for success. This passion yields many who have remained unbroken under the weight of countless projectile assignments, for, sleep deprivation, fear of failure, doubt in scholastic applications, and the perpetual apportionment of time in daily high school life can never truly alter the passion of learning and the passion for success in these students. No matter the negative effects, these pupils continue with the confidence and determination of success in the lives true to them.

--Aron Possler, Special to LSNews.org

Edited: BP

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