Teenage workload: Should we cut back? (Editorial)

Kathleen O'Neill

Across the nation, teenagers work hard to do well in school, excel in athletics, have a job, and participate in extracurricular activities. Between homework, job hours, and trying to decide on future plans, teenagers have little to no downtime. There is too much on teenagers plates for them to finish it all. Some teens need to make more time, and some need to drop a few activities.

But is this actually possible?

Teenagers are no strangers to late nights; in fact, they are expected. Many teenagers are up until midnight if not later on a regular basis. Homework alone keeps many kids busy well into the night, but when athletics and a job are thrown into the mix, hours slip by.

College is expensive, and many teens are saving up in hopes to avoid as much debt as possible. Some get no financial aid from their parents or the state, so they are on their own to pay for it. They need a high paying job with flexible hours in order to balance everything.

CHS junior Mia Fry works at Brusters after cross country practice on many weekdays and on weekends.

“Sometimes [having a job] can be nice because it really forces you to manage your time, but other times its hard because you barely have time to do homework and you have little free time,” said Fry.

In order to get into a good college, you need extracurricular activities on your transcript, and you need a lot of them. Standing out will help with acceptance into schools with very competitive acceptance rates. Many teenagers attempting to get into prestigious schools fill their time with extracurricular activities and it usually has negative health effects.

In an article by Jenny Anderson, a writer for Quartz (an online newspaper), looking at extra-curricular activities, she explains the negative health effects, “Those include more emotional problems, less sleep, and higher stress levels than those doing fewer activities.”

Along with packed afternoons, students have early mornings. Many students get up anywhere from 5:30 AM to 6 AM in order to get ready for school and eat breakfast. That amounts to a whopping 18 hour day! For some students in high-level classes and many extracurricular activities, the day is even longer.

In an article written by Craig Canapari MD, he cites a colleague’s work, “Lauren Daisley had a great video on CBS Sunday Morning several weeks ago discussing early school start times. Sleepiness in teenagers is a major public health issue and early school start times contribute to this.” 

Stress levels and sleep deprivation are not all teenagers have to deal with, and the list is mounting. Time is something that we just do not have enough of.

There is a solution to the lack of time. Many teenagers do not know their limit. Taking away a few activities will give teens the extra time they need to sleep and finish homework. It will alleviate some of the stress of daily life and improve the overall attitude of teenagers. 

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2018-2019 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.