If You Snooze, Do You Lose?
In a world of competition and a “who has the edge” outlook, teenagers in high school are in for it. With a whole generation to compare against, each student has to deal with a ton of stress. Where does this stress come from? It stems from almost everything. Many people think that teens in high school have it easy, and that if they would just buckle down and study they’ll end up fine. However, this is definitely not the case.
First there is the overarching heavy cloud of homework and the stress over tests and quizzes. It may seem easy, and that the only problem is procrastination, however it’s a whole lot more. In any class, especially the higher level and AP classes, students must break down and understand complex concepts in order to complete the assignments. This does not always have to do with whether students manage their time wisely, but also is involved with their brain development. Some students’ brains have not developed to a level that can fully comprehend the material which forces them take a much longer time doing homework. Then there is the studying for tests and quizzes. In addition to grades and homework, there are the extracurricular activities. From jobs to volunteering at the local pet shelter, students become involved in the community. Then there are the after school activities like sports, clubs and the arts. Sports take up a huge physical and mental toll on students. In any kind of sport, there is the mental and physical aspect of it. The mental game requires players to think fast and smart about what their next move will be, whether it is to run back and defend or step up and attack. While the physical aspect is everything else. The arts take a huge mental capacity as well, using one’s mind to interpret a whole new language of notes and rests and twist a perspective into creating something 3D into 2D on a piece of paper. To balance all these extracurriculars, students scramble to produce quality homework and projects whilst making sure their after school activities are also taken care of.
You may wonder why this is a choice students would make, to take the AP classes, to run the extra mile for the team, and to stay up one more hour to perfect the details of their project. Well this may not really be a choice. In affluent school districts such as Radnor School District, the community is usually made up of higher educated and more importantly higher pressured environments. Parents, family members and people in the district raise the bar and push students to take on mountains of work. However, there are only 24 hours in a day, so how are all these activities accomplished? Usually, this is by sacrificing sleep. Sleep is now regarded as more of a luxury than a necessity. However the effects of sleep deprivation in order to accomplish all these tasks really isn’t worth it. The effects include hypertension which is a gateway into heart disease, weight gain, depression and more. Some might view depression as just a mood or a phase, however depression is a serious disease and a terrible toll to take on. It changes a person into someone they never used to be, they lose interest in things that used to ignite a passion and the world seems to be hopeless. If the point of working hard in school, and being accepted into a prestigious college is to be happy in the future, being diagnosed with depression would defeat the whole purpose.
When a person looks back in their life, someone who has truly lived doesn’t look at how much money they have earned, or how many A’s they received in school. Instead they think about how they felt, the good times with family and friends. Memories of playing by a creek, or the warmth of laughter and smiles, are irreplaceable and can never be bought by money or . Giving up sleep in order to finish and accomplish all of these activities is sometimes beneficial, but sleep deprivation is a serious epidemic. The effects are not just short term, they are not just feeling groggy and should not be considered the right thing for students. The long term effects of sleep deprivation are destructive and need to be taken seriously.