Summer Work: The Thief of Sanity

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Whoever came up with the cliché, “High school will be the best four years of your life” either lived in a cave during those significant four years of life, or simply did not experience Honors courses. Everyone who’s academically inclined in high school can attest to the fact that what with all the studying, note-taking, and homework, a social life is nearly impossible. Stress builds even in the summertime, when generally useless summer projects are assigned in Honors courses, leaving the motivated students with something to ponder—shouldn’t they be rewarded for their hard work during the school year with a much-needed break? During the school year, we, as dedicated students, have difficulty adhering to college requirements, and attempting to balance sports, clubs, and schoolwork leads to incredible amounts of stress.

Recently, Wilmington High School conducted a study to find out the summertime study habits of its Honors and AP students. When questioned on how long it took the students to finish their summer assignments, the majority responded with, “More than 15 hours.” The maximum amount of time that summer assignments aim to consume is ten hours—the school has clearly exceeded its limit! While doing this schoolwork, students are also working ten to forty hours a week, participating in community service, and spending more than ten hours in extracurricular activities—all of which are done in order to appeal to colleges. I personally know students who have had emotional breakdowns due to the stress that excessive amounts of schoolwork bring. This is unhealthy, and the lack of a social life also contributes to an unhealthy psyche. I highly doubt all of this schoolwork is crucial to a student’s academic success. In fact, the same survey results gathered by Wilmington High School stated that 63.6% of students found summer work unhelpful in their regular studies.

There is a simple solution to this problem of excessive schoolwork. It’s true that the subject of abolishing summer work has been brought to the table many times, but has anyone really considered the benefits of it? While I hold that AP students should have summer work, due to the nature of college credit, Honors students should be excluded from the summer toils they already endure during the school year. High school is extremely taxing, and summer vacation should be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, without having to worry about the next summer project. Is this worry and stress the reward high schoolers get for being capable and pursuing a better position in life? While some may argue that summer work keeps students’ minds on task during the break, Honors students should be intelligent enough to retain information over a period of two months.

Summer vacation should be about rewinding from the demanding school year and having fun. The whole concept of summer work lends itself to mounting stress, and constantly being trapped in the cycle of homework. Schoolwork is not the only thing that leads to college scholarships, and therefore should be abolished for Honors students in lieu of some well-deserved rest. Educators should bear in mind that there are other important things on the list to get to a good college, like community service, sports, clubs, and most importantly, your sanity.





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