Is the homework load and stress too much for Seniors?

We all know senior year at Oceana is a stressful one, at least for most people.

According to US News, teens today are reportedly under as much stress as their parents are.  The reasons for elevated stress levels tends to vary among different people, but one factor that is pretty similar for most teens is their lack of sleep.

If it isn’t the early start time of high school that makes sleep hard to get, it’s also the many hours of homework that results in teens going to bed later.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers are supposed to get 8 to 10 hours a night.  Apparently, less than 15% of teens actually get that amount of sleep.  This can lead to sleep deprivation and that can cause other problems like motor vehicle accidents, which is the number one killer of teens.

But beyond the amount of sleep that teens get, it’s also important to keep in mind the amount of time they spend at school.  Students spend about 8 hours in school, sitting and learning for the majority of their conscious day.  Afterwards, many students have after school obligations that they need to go to: clubs, extracurriculars, sports, jobs, and family commitments.

Senior year is a pretty high stress year at Oceana because everyone’s running around trying to keep up with Senior Exhibition, the rest of their school work, homework, and all of their outside of school obligations.  However, the levels of stress a student might experience in their Senior Year depends all on the classes they have, the way they manage and spend time, and their attitude on everything.

During an interview with OHS senior Halle Fernandez, she laid her busy schedule.  On her odd days she has AP Government, AP Chemistry, and AP Calculus, and on her even days she has Visual Arts, Health, and AP Language.  She shared that it takes around 6 hours to complete her homework for odd days, whereas it takes around 1 to 2 hours for even days.

Furthermore, Halle explains that she is not a frequent procrastinator: “I try not to [procrastinate], I do all my homework a day ahead of time, so I finish all of my odd homework on Friday or Saturday so I don’t have to worry about it.”  She is good at managing her time and is strategic with how she spends her free moments.  She knows her after school schedule ahead of time so she builds her homework schedule around it to ensure its completion.  When asked a question about if the work is ever too much, Halle responded with, “Yeah, especially with other stuff I do, because I do basketball, I have work, and all that. I stay up pretty late sometimes.”

To help her distress from her many hours of homework, she takes phone breaks, gives herself incentives for completing work, such as reading  a certain number of pages and then taking a break afterwards.  She also likes to draw or watch Netflix and YouTube.

To shed light on the Senior Year experience is for someone who takes more electives, Hannah Balton also shares her experiences and thoughts.

Hannah shares that her odd day schedule includes Psychology, Humanities, and Food and Nutrition, and her even days have Swimming, Teachers Aid, and Humanities.  She explains that she basically only gets homework for Psychology and Humanities.

When asked a question about how long homework takes she says, “Humanities, it’s probably around two hours.” Even with 2 hours of homework to do some nights, Hannah has other after school obligations that keep her busy before she can even get to do her homework, such responsibilities with her family and her job.

She explains that her schedule has been structured to prevent her from experiencing high levels of anxiety; however, she still believes that this school year is still going to be very stressful. Weeks tend to be more stressful when there are multiple due dates within the week, such as interviews, mentor meetings, and essay outlines.

In order to deal with her stress, Hannah listens to music, partakes in mindfulness, and uses an app called Head space. The purpose of Head space is specifically for meditation.

Hannah Balton

The way senior year goes depends a lot on the classes students have and how they spend their time. The homework load can be a lot for anyone, regardless of if they are taking 4 APs or none. It all depends on who you are and how you work. While picking a senior year schedule, consider stress and workload.

Senior year can be too much for anyone considering all of the factors that are contributing to the pressure and stress:  college apps, homework, your job, volunteering, sports, clubs, or just Senior Exhibition.  It’s always good to have something to help you distress, take a break, and relax every once in a while.

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