The discussion of a later starting time for Ridgewood High School students has been going on for quite some time now. The idea was that students either wake up and end school later or have the same schedule as we do now. Well, here’s my view on this: start at a later time without making drastic changes to the original schedule.
I know that the schedule will never be perfect and remain controversial, but the thought of waking up at 6 AM in the morning is stressful enough, and doing it for 180 days of school is becoming more tiring every day. For example, on multiple days, I have slept through my alarms and ended up waking up past 7 AM. One might argue that I need to manage my time well and sleep as early as 10 to 11 PM, but as a high school student, who really sleeps that early? Then when I go to school with barely enough sleep, my mood worsens and I can’t seem to concentrate through the morning classes, which leads me to my next point.
My mental health, like many others, has become worse. The work and stress make me exhausted every day, and some might say that’s life, but every weekend, I have to wake up just as early and head to the library to finish projects thrown at me unceasingly. Time management is key and yes, I believe it is crucial to do this for my future, but it wouldn’t hurt to extend the time a little so I don’t have to rush out of the door every morning. One sophomore student agreed that they would love a later starting time, but wasn’t fond of having to push back sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities they participate in. There would be definite pros and cons to this change if it were to occur. However, I believe that most students would agree with this extension because whenever I am running late to school, which is almost every morning, there are always a number of cars that are also late. In worse cases, there are students that live further away who miss the bus due to how early it comes and how early they need to wake up.
Participation in class is a factor too. “I expect you to come into class and participate every day,” teachers always stress to their students at the beginning of the school year. Participation is also one of the things that affect students’ grades the most. However, it is challenging to participate in class at 7:45 AM consistently. I may not be as talkative as others, but that doesn’t shield me from participating as much as I can. I would love to speak up and focus on my work in my morning classes if I had the energy to do so. I usually concentrate more in the morning, but not when I don’t get enough sleep. If I want to fulfill the teacher’s expectations of participating every day, I stand for having a later start time.
Furthermore, I believe we can still have sleep in free periods and enrichment days even with the time switch. I wouldn’t mind if the school decided to start at least ten minutes later either because it is still better than relying on an unhealthy amount of caffeine. Whether our starting time changes or not, we as students deserve a good, healthy lifestyle as we work diligently every day.
Graphic: Taeyoung Cha