Busy Busy Busy


Enoch Orozco

All the paperwork shown only comes from two out of the five classes I’m in, and it is a lot (Photo Courtesy of Enoch Orozco)

Disclaimer: I know that many teachers are struggling with how to teach just as much if not more than the students are struggling with how to go about learning. This article is not meant to discredit any of the hardworking teachers who have taken the time to try and keep learning as normal as possible. This is just an article for a teenage boy to complain about how he doesn’t like school.

The introduction to the school year in late August and early September proved to be confusing for just about everyone. Many sites such as Canvas, Google Classroom, and Blackboard are being used extensively for the first time. To say the least, it has not been an easy transition for a lot of students to locate, complete, and turn in assignments all at various locations. While most teachers understand and have been trying to make the transition as seamless as possible, some have yet to take the hint.

For instance, one of my teachers in one of my classes, which will both remain anonymous, sent an email to all the students in regards to how to study for the class. In summary, the teacher proposed each student study and/or work on assignments for 18-24 hours per week, or three to four hours per day in a seven day week. For convenience’s sake, we’ll say three hours a day strictly dedicated to school work for that class. Applying that model to myself would total to 15 hours of school work per day (or 12 since there is no “studying” for Newspaper). This alone should be enough to determine this model is obviously impossible, but let’s break down the free time I have in an average school day to further my point.

7AM-9:45AM: Morning Routine + Class

9:45AM-11AM: Freetime at Home (1.25 hour, at max 5 if no afternoon classes)

11AM-3PM: Afternoon Classes

3:30PM-7:30PM: Work

7:30PM-7AM (next day): “Free” time (11.5 hours max, Sleep is required but hours are flexible)

So, there are at least 12.75 hours and at most 16.5 hours of free time… assuming I never sleep, never eat, can instantly transport to and from locations, and do nothing besides school or work. It should be obvious that no one can survive without food and sleep, cannot teleport, and would go crazy if they only did school and work, so cut out another eight hours for all of those tasks combined. Taking into consideration that teenagers are recommended eight to ten hours of sleep per night, I am already behind in that regard. Nevertheless, this only leaves roughly five to eight hours a day to complete all of my school tasks. Following the recommended three hours a day, that gives me time for two of my five classes per day, every day, under completely ideal conditions. 

Additionally, a lack of proper free time, even if it is just spent relaxing or listening to music, can be detrimental to mental health. Just doing a quick google search, a 2015 survey of college students reported a negative impact in academic performance due to stress (30% of students), anxiety (22%), sleep difficulties (20%), and depression (14%). Free time can directly counter a lot of these negative emotions, giving students some time to take a step back from school and focus on themselves. This, in turn, would improve academic performance, which in turn would most likely allow more free time. However, it is normally considered less important than completing school assignments, trapping students in a vicious cycle of poor mental health.

Given my schedule, I still don’t even consider myself the busiest of most students. So, if I am struggling to keep up I can’t imagine what other students are going through. To make it worse, the content we are doing at home hardly feels like I’m learning something, which makes it feel optional. Most of the content we are learning, that is sucking up all of our time, doesn’t feel beneficial at all. Most of it can be simplified down to a google search, copy-paste, and submit, but even that takes a while to complete when the assignments are lengthy and boring. I’m not alone in thinking this as well; most of the students I know are tired of the tedious amount of school work with seemingly no benefit. Especially this year, school is pushing more and more on memorization instead of application and genuine learning. To put it frankly, the content feels shallow and ineffective in everyday life, and I’ll forget most of it the second this school year ends.

So, there isn’t enough time in the day to complete all of the academic content while managing a healthy outside life, and the content we are learning doesn’t feel beneficial at all. I don’t think the teachers are to blame for this, or that there is any blame to be put. It is just less than ideal circumstances, that in my Senior year, could have a very large impact on my future.