Homework Leading to Skyrocketing Stress


Charlotte Varnes

Junior Angelina Berthiaume stresses over balancing her three AP classes with electives and sports.

Charlotte Varnes, Online Editor

This school year, a big emphasis seems to have been placed on mental health: Chaplain Jared has spent many chapels discussing anxiety in teens, two seniors spoke on the importance of mental health awareness last Monday, and fall retreat days included de-stressing sessions with Mrs. Ramos. However, many students still feel constantly stressed and overwhelmed.

As high schoolers, we are expected to balance many things in our lives: academics, extracurriculars, jobs, social activities, and spending time with our families. Although academics are very important, the heavy workload and overlapping test schedules are taking a toll on students.

Scheduling tests and quizzes has been a big issue at Holy Trinity for many years. The guidelines are that no more than three tests a day and no more than six quizzes can be taken, but there are certainly loopholes to this. Some teachers do not assign tests, only quizzes, and therefore quizzes play a major role in your grade: something overlooked by the testing rule. Additionally, the six quiz rule is questionable, in that  most students only take five academic classes, so there is no point in this rule existing. As well as that, some teachers create one-day assignments that are worth a test grade but are not technically “tests,” so the rule does not apply to them.

In the past two weeks, I have had four tests, an essay, and a quiz. Granted, I am in three AP classes and a heavy workload is expected, but all of this was on top of daily and long-term homework assignments. A few days ago, I had two friends who took four tests. This is certainly against the testing rule, but they did not want to come forward and ask any of the teachers to take their test at a different time. Why would they do this? It’s a belief among students that teachers tend to be upset if you ask them to test on a different day because teachers often feel that their class is the most important, so many try to avoid that situation.

Oftentimes, I will come home from school and work on homework for four to five hours. I wouldn’t consider myself a procrastinator or slow worker; this is simply the amount of time it takes to make sure I learn the material in all of my classes. If I have quizzes, tests, or lengthy assignments, this time can be longer.

Additionally, some may feel that electives are a great time to relax during the day, but this is not the case. Fine Arts students, whether in Drama, Orchestra, Band, or Choir, are constantly working towards their next performance and certainly have a workload in those classes. Those in art classes are consistently working on projects, which can  also increase stress levels. Even us in the student media are always working, whether finishing a spread for Yearbook, putting together a Broadcast segment, or brainstorming new online stories for Newspaper.

If anything, the heavy academic workload serves to diminish the fun and enjoyment during electives. If I have a free moment during Drama or Newspaper, I’ll most likely be spending it studying or trying to get ahead on my homework for the night, rather than actually working on what I need to do for those classes. Elective teachers are frustrated when students are doing academic work, and students are upset that the academic workload drives them to work rather than have fun during electives. It’s a lose-lose on both sides.

On the weekends, the amount of schoolwork tends to be much worse. I had a friend who did 11 and a half hours of homework last weekend, and I know all of us who missed last Friday, whether due to cross country or the FSPA Workshop, had to work double time to catch up after missing only one day. A typical weekend consists of spending hours on homework, whether on assignments nearing the due date or working a few days ahead.

On top of schoolwork, we are expected to be successful athletes, involved club and honor society members, spend time with friends and family, have time saved for ourselves, and (for some of us) work. Eighty percent of Holy Trinity students play a sport, meaning many of us are all in the same boat of trying to manage lengthy practices with hours of homework. Naturally, sleep is the first thing to go. I have a friend on the volleyball team who typically gets four hours of sleep trying to balance three APs with practice and games, and several teammates on the cross country team who only get four to five hours of sleep a night — some due to schoolwork, others due to filling out college applications.

Lately, I have had several teachers remind my classes that GPA and an A aren’t everything, but that being with our friends and family is much more important. I don’t think this should be an either or situation since there is no reason that spending time with those closest to us should wreck our chances of a 4.0 or getting an A. If anything, the fact that teachers have to address this shows how overwhelming our workload is.

A heavy workload is not necessarily key to successful learning. Some of the classes I have learned the most in have not included reading 50 pages a week in a textbook or doing 30 problems a night, but have been through engaging lectures, in-class worksheets and help, and discussing topics with my classmates. There are so many more ways to teach than sending us home with hours of work.

Many students are at their breaking point. The amount of schoolwork is consuming our lives and cutting into our sleep time, enjoyment of extracurriculars and electives, time spent with friends and family, and having time to ourselves. These should not be mutually-exclusive due to a heavy workload when there are so many other ways to learn aside from homework.