Grades, tests, colleges, SATs, essays – I bet just reading those words made you cringe, and that’s completely normal. As high school students, a majority of our lives revolve around education. This is especially true here at Ridgewood High School, given its immense academic rigor. For me, it seems as though I am constantly doing homework or studying for my next quiz or test. But is this continuous learning too much? Where do we draw the line?
It’s no secret that RHS is a high performing school. With an increased level of intensity, however, comes an increased amount of work. I conducted a survey with a handful of RHS students on the amount of time each student spent on homework each night. The results were quite shocking. Of all of the students reviewed, 88% admitted to spending two or more hours on homework each night. Even more appalling is the fact that 32% spend more than four hours each night to complete their work. This overwhelming amount of time students dedicate to schoolwork can only mean one thing: education is much more than a mere fraction of our daily lives.
Possibly the most concerning part about the increasing emphasis on education in this day in age is the inordinate amount of stress that it brings upon students. Recently, studies have shown that students tend to display stress levels that exceed those of adults. In fact, an investigation done by NYU reveals that nearly 50% of all students feel extreme levels of stress on a day to day basis. This is somewhat concerning, especially considering that an overabundance of stress can have detrimental effects on our health, including (but not limited to) headaches, high blood pressure, anxiety, asthma, and even depression – conditions that high school students should not have to face.
Of course, a little bit of stress is not out of the ordinary — it is a common part of the life of a high school student. Often times it can even act as a motivator for a number of students. Personally, I feel much more focused and am usually more productive when I am under pressure. Knowing I have a time restriction or a load of work to get done helps me concentrate on the task at hand. This same concept goes for many high schoolers.
So, even though education is definitely more prominent now than it ever was, it still isn’t necessarily overemphasized. Even though overly intense education programs seem to bring up some issues among students, the positives ultimately outweigh the negatives.
Our world is developing and improving at an extremely fast rate, and we, as students, must evolve with it. As humanity gets smarter, we must grow more educated. Although school might seem like too much pressure on us right now, a good education will grow to be a significant benefit in the future. By focusing assiduously on learning in these pivotal years in our lives, all of us will be better prepared for tomorrow.
Graphic: Maraea Garcia