Freshman Lauren pichette tackles the challenge of finishing up her homework Photo by Nathan landis

Pressure Cooker of High School


All IACS students would probably agree that the homework load is a little more than manageable. It takes the fun out of weekends, the joy out of sleep, and adds to the harshness of waking up on early mornings. Some students get so stressed about homework that they take days off just to stay at home and do late work.

“Taking a day off lets me get more done than I would at school,” said a sophomore at the school who has recently taken a day off from school to get late work done at home. But stress isn’t just a thing of students; teachers also need some days to themselves to just relieve their minds of stress. When asked anonymously, teachers said that if they had the option, they would happily take a mental health day. They said that since they have to teach, it is hard for this to happen. This shows that students are not so different from teachers.
Take Noah Landis, a junior with ADD who is struggling with school, taking all honors classes, and works at the Boys and Girls Club in Billerica. “It’s a lot to think about,” he said. “I can never hang out with friends. [Homework] also interferes with my job.”
Landis is also a three season athlete at the school. Being an athlete requires the student to maintain a 70 or higher in every class, and if a grade drops below a 70, students are required to have it fixed and notify the athletic department that the grade was brought up by printing a screenshot of the improved X2 grades. This grade requirement adds to the stress. When Landis has a lot of homework, he will stay up late trying to make sure he is getting the grades he wants. This makes him very tired the next day, which makes doing homework a struggle.
When a student has too much work, they have to complete late work, falling behind on new assignments, further increasing their work load. It is a vicious cycle of missing work in many classes, and trying to make all of it up as more homework is handed out.
Students are faced with the challenge of using their weekend as a school recovery session, as not to fail their classes, and miss out on activities with their friends. They also miss out on sleep, like Noah, and are not be able to focus as well on school work, instead thinking about sleeping.
Hailey Fitch, a sophomore at IACS, says that she has replaced her social life with school work. She admits to procrastinating and giving up when her homework load becomes too much.
“Yes [my personal life has been affected by school]. I don’t have a social life. All I do is stay at home and do homework and chill with netflix,” she said unsarcastically.
She also admitted to not being able to focus a lot of the time. Without being able to focus, how are students supposed to get caught up?
Once the day is over and all the work is done, all you have time for is getting some food in your system and heading to bed. When asked, many high school students admitted to “going home, eating, and crashing.” Although it is healthy to get food and sleep, it is also important to have some time to yourself doing nothing.
The school offers an interesting variety of choice blocks, twice a week for a little more than an hour, which help students relax and do something they enjoy doing.
For example, Meditation is offered during Friday’s Choice Block, a time when students go to Mrs. Derival to learn all types of ways to relax and wind down.
Students feel more relaxed after choice block, mainly because they can be themselves and settle down, forgetting about anything else going on around them.
Students have a hard time focusing on work at home and in school, resulting in bad grades. The bad grades need to be fixed at some point, so they fix them during the time that they are supposed to be doing classwork. This results in them falling even further behind, and lowering their grade even more. As their grades drop, their families yell at them to bring their grades up, lowering their bonds with their parents.
Having a lesser work load could fix all of these problems, but also, students with some of these problems should go to extra help and get things sorted out, that way they can live a healthy, pleasant, and successful life.

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