Just about done


Franco Chavez

This reporter struggles to cope with workload.

You’re hanging out with a couple of friends and in the middle of a conversation about weekend plans, but you realize you still have to work on that essay you were assigned. At the same time, you remember about that midterm that you need to study for the following day. Soon after, you start to understand that you’re going to be busy all weekend for the internship you applied for. You get where I’m going with this? You’re busy, constantly. School’s been taking up all of my time, and I’m sure it’s been taking up yours too. It seems like we’ve been at it for the entire year, but we’re only two months in, and everyone seems to want to call it quits. I find it difficult to balance school and life with everything I’m expected to do as both a student and a teenager. And with all of this, mental health becomes a serious thing to consider, especially when you take into account just how much some students are sacrificing for a letter on their report card. There’s even a handful of cases where students lose all motivation to do anything at all, and even before their final year at MCHS, they experience what’s known as “Senioritis.” In all honesty, procrastination is a factor in this, but when I’m assigned a ton of work, how can I feel eager to do it all? However, I understand that I’m not the only one who feels this way, which is why I’ve decided to gain the input of a few MCHS students and possibly gain some answers from teachers to see how they feel about this.
There’s a whole lot that comes on a regular school day, let alone an entire week. Apart from homework, the same routine of going to school every day also weighs down on a lot of students. Perhaps there are students who are just fine sticking to a schedule, but I find that after a while, things become so much duller, and that makes it hard to have the motivation to do anything. Junior Monserrath Martinez described her typical school day routine as, “Besides going to my assigned classes every day, I have community service after college class on Tuesdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I stay until 5 p.m. for my college class. Other than that, I go home and work on some homework, but I usually end up sleeping at around one or two in the morning which really screws me up because I feel sleepy throughout the day, and sometimes fall asleep in class.” I’m sure many can relate to a similar, busy routine just like this. So when it comes down to it, it’s pretty obvious that we’re struggling in a similar situation, some in even more difficult ones.
We know how we feel towards the workload we’re given, but how often do we also consider the teacher’s point of view? Of course, some might even feel upset towards their teachers for expecting so much to be done, as they might not even consider the million other things we have going on. However, I’ve been fortunate to conduct an interview with two of our teachers at MCHS to truly get an idea as to what their perspective is on all of this and even get a short glimpse into how they decide what’s enough school work. Mrs. Peterson gave some insight to her own high school experience compared to how it is right now by saying, “I think high school is way more competitive now than when I was in school. There were only two or three classes that offered AP, and it just wasn’t as stressful I don’t think.” She goes on to say, “I don’t know why it’s changed, maybe it’s more about prestige now. I also think, for seniors, they want to go to a college with a good name, but I don’t think that’s what should matter.”
I’ve never been one to claim that I have perfect time management, but when I look into what my friends have going on with their schedule, it seems like there’s no time to take a break. I learned that many people are sacrificing valuable things every day in order to meet deadlines. Things like sleep and time with family aren’t being appreciated enough by everyone due to their schedule. Granted, I’m not speaking for everyone. At the same time though, there aren’t many that I know who are currently reading this article without subconsciously thinking about what they have due in the next few days. Junior Eduardo Abrica says, “I feel like all my responsibilities are manageable. Even though I’m a mess, I still get everything done on time. My priority for work depends on what’s due sooner. My agenda is, however, nonexistent. I’m not an organized person at all, but I am able to balance out my social and school life.”
All of this stress builds up and over time, one’s mental health can suddenly be put at risk. Things like depression and anxiety can seriously take a toll on students, especially if they’re being overwhelmed with so much to do. Honestly, when was the last time you took a break, on where you didn’t worry about anything at all? Martinez shared, “The last time I took a proper break was probably after my summer college class ended because I didn’t have to worry about any homework due the next day or about waking up early. I feel like if school didn’t take up so much of my free time, I would be able to sleep for at least six hours a day, and I would even be able to go out with my friends and family on the weekends.” It’s all about balance, as with everything in life. Too much or too little of one thing can make you lose your grip, and that’s the point that I’m getting at.
Mental health is also a huge issue among students and with the number of sacrifices that some make to meet deadlines, students are much more vulnerable to missing out on things like sleep. As Abrica stated, “I have made sacrifices in order to prioritize school. None of them have been really harmful. I did sacrifice sleep, but it only caused me to doze off a bit in class…[I think we do this because] We want to work hard in order to achieve our goal in life.” Students are bound to feel more burned out with the added stress that they accumulate for every class. Martinez also said, “Stress affects me a lot to the point where I sometimes want to switch schools because maybe if I weren’t taking college classes or some of the same classes I’m taking now such as math analysis, I would be doing so much better than I am now.”
In the end, there is a lot that students have to meet, both deadlines and expectations. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that mental health can seriously be damaged by the demanding duties given. All I would ask for is for some understanding more than anything. I 100 percent believe that we learn a lot about time management, but it’s also just as important to keep our teenage lives uninterrupted too. Even from the juniors, Martinez first advises, “If you can, take a nap when you get home; it helps if you have a headache because it goes away, at least for a while. Also, talk to someone you trust, I know this is what everyone says, but it honestly does help to have someone you can talk to and vent to. It feels like a great amount of stress gets relieved from your chest.” Abrica added, “If I could give advice on stress, it would be that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family can help a lot more than you think. Do something you enjoy and step away from the stress causing thing for a bit. Talk to others about your troubles. Eat something you love. That is my advice.” Ultimately, there needs to be a balance between teachers and students. We are MCHS and there’s no doubt that we want to succeed, but let’s keep our ourselves sane while achieving our goals, alright?