By Brendan Locke
Mental health has been a struggle for teens across America for ages, and school has been a major factor in this. Schools push so much work on students, stressing out young teens and forcing them to get too little sleep. Students are taught that if they don’t do well in school, they won’t be successful in life. That is a lot of pressure to put on 14–18-year-olds.
Students across America wake up before the sun to go to a school where they sit at a desk too tired to process the information being thrown at them. Countless studies have shown that teens shouldn’t wake up as early as they do. When students are allowed to sleep later, they stay more alert and their average grade improves.
According to a study performed at the University of Washington and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, “To ask a teen to be up and alert at 7:30 a.m. is like asking an adult to be active and alert at 5:30 a.m.” Any adult can agree that’s an unreasonable request for them. Less sleep leads to poor mental health. The CDC conducted a study to support this, stating, “Thirteen percent of study participants experienced inadequate sleep, and 14.1% experienced frequent mental distress. Participants who averaged 6 hours or less of sleep per night were about 2.5 times more likely to have frequent mental distress when controlling for confounders than those who slept more than 6 hours.”
I spoke to a friend who lives upstate and attends school where classes starts at 7:45 a.m. and who must be at his bus stop at 7:10 a.m., requiring him to wake up at 6 a.m. every morning. When I asked him how his morning classes go, he said, “I get almost no work done in these early classes, I am constantly fighting myself to stay awake.” He continued, “I’m really not able to get any work done until around 5th or 6th period when I finally start to feel alert and awake.”
This isn’t the only problem with schools. Schools maintain that students must go to a good college to be successful in life, meaning they have to excel in school. Kids who buy into this take on difficult courses which give hours of homework every night. These students no longer have time to enjoy their childhood because they are too busy doing meaningless schoolwork. They drop hobbies and going out with friends to go to a good college and struggle with debt for the rest of their adult lives. Many students can’t handle the amount of work they are given at such a young age.
According to Grade Power Learning, “Studies have also shown that too much homework can be very unhealthy, making students feel stressed and burnt out. In fact, more than 56% of students say that homework is a major reason they stress about school.” This number is far too high and 14-year-olds shouldn’t feel this stressed out. Not only is homework stressful for students, but it is also bad for them. When students struggle with a subject they need to be taught, shoving information in their head doesn’t help them at all and will only lead to more confusion.
students and concluded that increasing homework loads could be the result of too much material with insufficient instructional time in the classroom.” “The overflow typically results in more homework assignments,” the lead researcher said in a statement from the University. “However, students spending more time on something that is not easy to understand or needs to be explained by a teacher does not help these students learn and, in fact, may confuse them.” Kids don’t learn from the homework they receive and just end up confused, frustrated, and unmotivated.
I asked a high school sophomore about how he is affected by homework, and he responded saying, “The homework I receive always feels pointless and I don't feel like it helps me with anything.” He also said, “I feel that I get too much and it stresses me out. It takes away from me enjoying hobbies and going out with my friends.”
School has had a very negative affect on teens and needs reformation. Kids at this age shouldn’t be stressed out like they are. They should be out enjoying their youth before they grow up and have responsibilities. Instead, kids are stressed out, have poor mental health, and are trapped in their rooms, working on meaningless school work.
Brendan Locke is a student in Ms. LoScalzo's Journalism class.