Throughout the school year, student’s live by a strict schedule that consists of school, extracurricular activities and homework. The amount of homework has intensified, students are getting less sleep during school nights, and the level of stress is at its highest peak. American teenagers are given too much homework during the school year, thus leading to unfavorable impacts mentally and physically. I have experienced in the past 2 years the stress, tiredness and isolation from family events due to being in high school. The load of homework I have received is ridiculous I have to miss family dinners and supporting my sister at her soccer and basketball games. I get about half the amount of sleep I used to get and my acne has gotten worse from all the stress. I feel that I’m not fully living my life and that I’m restricted by homework.
First of all, American teenagers are getting too much homework leading to unfavorable impacts mentally and physically such as spending less time with the people who are most important to you in life. A survey by the University of Phoenix in 2013 states “high school students had an average of 17.5 hours of homework every week and 3.5 hours from each teacher per week”. Considering if we go to school all day and have extracurricular activities then it leaves us very little time to spend with family and friends, causing us to miss the most important high school memories. The smallest moments when either you’re little sister or brother started talking or maybe your sister or brother shot the winning basket. Still you are stuck at home doing work, missing those priceless moments. The American College Health Association found, “the suicide rate among young adults, ages 15-24, has tripled since the 1950s and suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among students, these young people are often away from home”. School makes it very hard to spend any time with family because we either have presentations or essays to write. While these students are at school and are away from their family for too long they start to show signs of depression. Students with depression often turn to suicide to make everything go away and not have to deal with the stress anymore. At the same time that I believe having homework is good practice to learn the material. I believe that when every teacher gives out homework for practice it starts to piles up for the students. Moments in life should be cherished except for students who have too much homework they don’t get to cherish them, so many unfavorable impact mentally and physically cause students make them not enjoy life fully.
Secondly, American teenagers have too much homework that cause unfavorable impacts mentally and physically. Unfavorable impacts include the loss a lot of sleep for many students. I argue that students are losing sleep due to having a lot of homework. Supported by new research showing that “with lack of sleep students have a limited ability to learn, to listen, to concentrate and to solve problems”. Those are the basic principles of school this means it’s harder for us to do what is expected. The expectations are that we do all our homework no matter how much it must be done. Thus leading us to staying up late trying to finish the homework in order to succeed in the course. The school's new way of teaching is to get us to think about problems and solve without a guide. However with lack of sleep it isn’t easy to comprehend the task at hand if I’m so exhausted all the time. Data shows that “38% of teens have trouble falling asleep at night”. Moreover your mind doesn’t stop thinking right after you finish homework. Your mind is not relaxed which makes it hard to go to bed. Sleep is essential for the human body and with all of this homework students are getting it's hard for them to get the full 8 ½ hours they need to function. A lot of homework is a leading cause in having unfavorable impact mentally such as loss of sleep for students.
Furthermore, too much homework is given to American teenagers that causes unfavorable impacts mentally and physically. For instance the stress level has escalated in the past few years. The results of a survey by psychologist Norman Anderson showed,“the stress level between students a 5.8 out of 10 and adults with a 5.1 out of 10, that a 0.6 difference”. This shows just how stressed out we are today. We should be able to live life without being tied down because we are trying to finish homework late at night and causing a lot of stress. We also have pressure and expectations to finish our homework and turn it in when it’s due. “Factors that cause stress include academics, social pressure, post-secondary plans, family issues and finance”. Notice how the first two causes are school related such as finishing homework and the pressure of looking presentable. The social pressure that is put on girls to always look decent causes stress and then leads to acne. Stress causes acne for girls especially. This because we are supposed to have good skin otherwise we are not pretty and we stress out about our faces on top of everything else. This shows the unnecessary stress that we have on ourselves as students. Parents think that our lives aren’t as stressful compared to their lives such as dealing with bills and housework but recently experts suggest that school for us has increasingly become much more stressful. With all the expectations that students have today we put too much pressure on ourselves and cause us to be stressed out. Unfavorable impacts include stress and pressure about their academics and finishing homework on students isn’t good for their mental health.
To conclude, although teachers give too much homework may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s concern over teen’s physiological and physical health. Some impacts include spending less time with family and friends while missing the important memories. Losing a lot of sleep making it harder to focus and learn. The level of stress has increased rapidly through the years. American teenagers are given too much homework during the school year has many unfavorable impacts mentally and physically.
Bidwell, Allie. "Students Spend More Time on Homework." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Burden, Tanya. "Homework Anxiety: Survey Reveals How Much Homework K-12 Students Are Assigned and Why Teachers Deem It Beneficial." Homework Anxiety: Survey Reveals How Much Homework K-12 Students Are Assigned and Why Teachers Deem It Beneficial. University of Phoenix, 25 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Burrell, Jackie. "College and Teen Suicide Statistics: What You Should Know." About.com Parenting. About, Inc, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Jayson, Sharon. "Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well." USA Today. Gannett, 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
National Sleep Foundation. "Teens and Sleep." - National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
@PsychToday. "Teen Stress: How Much Is Too Much?" Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
The #feesmustfall student movement in South Africa has garnered a great deal of popular support. It has its critics, too. They have suggested that the country’s government and its universities simply can’t afford the free tertiary education students are demanding as their right.
These critics and those who have proliferated on social media miss an important point. Students are not just looking for a free ride. For many, stress about money is a distressing and unwelcome distraction from their degrees – qualifications they hope can lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
Financial stress is a reality
I recently concluded research about the factors that influence first-year students’ experiences and academic performance.
The vast majority – 94% – of the students involved needed external funding like student loans, bursaries and scholarships to support their university life. Some had even enrolled for degrees without having funding confirmed – so their days were consumed by worries about finance. One said:
When I left my job to study full time it was not easy, my money saved paid for my registration fees and res [residence], yeah, but that was, like, it. I couldn’t pay for food, clothes, books, transport or anything and then I applied for [a bursary scheme] and [it] didn’t take me. So right now I’m not paying, literally. I am just staying at res. So I’m not paying there and I’m not paying my fees because I thought if I get the bursary, it’s gonna come through but it didn’t come through. I have to think of a way to pay for my studies!
Most of these students cannot rely on their families for financial support. Parents’ jobs influence the amount of financial support that they can offer their children. In the study sample, only 24.45% of fathers and 22.2% of mothers had professional occupations and could offer their children some help with money.
Students keenly felt this lack of support, with one saying:
If I had the financial support from my family I would have done much better in maybe some of the work [academic work]; it’s no excuse, I could do better if I had this support.
In total 41% of the participants received some form of financial support from their parents, 53% relied on external funding – 10% received student loans and 43% obtained student bursaries – and 6% paid for their own studies.
Across the board, the students’ main priority was to desperately secure financial aid before focusing on academic activities. Only once they were able to deal with this stumbling block did they shift focus to their studies.
Promoting social integration
Being at university is not solely about studying. Socialising is an important component, giving students the chance to meet new and different people.
However, many of the students I interviewed had picked up part-time jobs to try and keep the wolf from the door. This kept them off campus at times when other students were socialising or getting involved in university activities beyond the classroom. That, in turn, made these financially struggling students feel less like they belonged at university.
The study reveals that social disintegration with both academics and peers deprives students of a holistic university experience.
Universities need to proactively provide the space and opportunities to encourage social connection on campus. Social networking on campus would certainly help disadvantaged students who have limited social and cultural capital. Research shows that developing these students’ social connections can be an important factor in them becoming successful university students.
Universities have a role to play
Universities have an obligation to ensure that their students get the most out of the degree experience. This helps them to produce well-rounded graduates. How, then, should institutions rise to the challenge of helping students who are forced into employment as a priority ahead of their academic studies?
One suggestion is for universities to play a more active and aggressive role in ensuring that students don’t have to wait for money. Some existing funding schemes only pay out after the academic year commences. Others only confirm student funding once term has started. Many students are not even able to get past the hurdle of paying upfront registration fees.
So, policies and programmes are needed to make financial aid available from the very first day of study or even a few weeks before a course starts. In addition student fees should be determined by individual applicants’ economic and social circumstances.
Addressing students’ funding challenges as early as possible would mitigate the burden and stress of students trying to secure financial aid while also trying to cope with their academic and other commitments. These include finding a part time job and addressing personal issues such as accommodation, food and living expenses.
Towards great graduates
The best universities want to produce the sort of graduates who can do great things for their country and community. To do this, institutions must realise that financial stress is a terrible burden – one which distracts potentially excellent graduates from their academic goals.