Work and Play

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Stress is a major problem in most people’s lives, a problem that hinders learning and can’t be fixed unless a proper balance of time is found for work and leisure. The roots of the problem often lie in one’s childhood and schooling, where the first traces of pressure from school, home, and friends appear.
At about third or fourth grade, when homework begins to take more than just five minutes a week, choices have to be made about whether to play with friends after school or do homework first. These first choices are the building blocks of habits that can change a person for the rest of their life. The stress placed on elementary kids is not extreme, but the pace is quickened in middle school as teachers start assigning more homework and projects. Less class time is allowed for assignments, and kids are expected to use their time at home in a productive way. As the amount of school work increases, so do demands from peers to fit in. The first football games, school dances, and social events happen at this time, creating more anxiety for kids as their social and academic priorities compete for time.
High school arrives and brings with it the stresses of sports, dating, amplified peer pressure, and learning to drive. Weekends become golden oases of rest and peace, but they too have a time limit. Halfway through the school year, students blissfully remember summer vacations as a fast blur of wasted time, sitting around the house with nothing to do but watch television and sleep.
With this unbalanced pattern of work and play, teens are not even given the option of spending their time in a useful manner; they are forced to do a lot of learning in a short period of time and then take a long break in which no learning is required. One main problem is that some teachers think that laboring is the same thing as learning. The truth is that nothing can be learned without time to digest the information and apply it to a real-life experience. Therefore, in order to learn properly, one must have time not only to work and study, but also a decent amount of leisure time to absorb information and digest its real meaning.





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