Students struggle with end of semester burn out

Sarah Girtman

Students tend to go into the year with high expectations for their year. They come to school energetic and prepared, and some even come excited. But, as the semester progresses, the students often become less enthusiastic and more stressed. 

Some people think students do not have the right to complain because they manage fewer things than adults do. They do not have to worry about bills, taxes, living on their own, or  taking care of children. These people are mostly right that school can sometimes be less stressful than an actual job.

However for most, it is not school itself, but all of the work we are expected to do while managing things like our social lives or part-time jobs. There are a lot of things we are expected to balance mostly on our own. I mean, think about it– we have 24 hours in a day. We are expected to get at least eight hours of sleep, come to school for eight hours, do hours of after-school activities, get some hours in at a job, and still make plans with people in our life. It can be very draining. Imed Bouchrika, Phd of reports that “three quarters of American high schoolers and half of middle schoolers described themselves as “often or always feeling stressed” by schoolwork.

The stress can become overwhelming and eventually lead to mental disorders such as anxiety or depression. This can lead to less motivation to do anything, which can become hard to overcome. According to the CDC, 36.7% of adolescents admitted to persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness in 2019 .

A lot of homework can also add stress to students who are already in precarious situations at home. It can be overwhelming and extremely draining. According to Will Richardson, the co-founder of Modern Learners, homework can actually be thought of as a social justice question. He asserts that, with poverty on the increase, teachers cannot make assumptions about a student having the resources or the support necessary to complete the assigned tasks. This being said, teaching that relies on homework is actually unfair to some students.   

I am not suggesting that teachers just quit giving their students work, but I am just saying that teachers could be more mindful of all that their students really deal with. Instead of just worksheets, tests and readings, teachers could incorporate more interactive lessons for their students to do in the classroom. That helps students be more focused, more engaged and more motivated. We have a lot of pressure put on us at such a young age, and it can become suffocating to deal with it for such a long period of time.