The work cycle of life must be broken

School. Work. Homework. A bit of social life. School. Work. Homework. This has become the pattern of high school students’ lives, leaving one feeling drained and uninspired to obtain the true purpose of school… actually learning. Instead, students view school as a race, something they just need to finish rather than a journey, causing one’s desire to learn to disappear. Each assignment finished isn’t a learning experience, it’s simply a box checked off a long to-due list. This is evidently due to the lack of breaks provided for students to rest and actually come back to school refreshed. This was not what school was intended for, but sadly, this is the reality it has become for many students. 

After a two-day weekend, I feel that my life is simply on repeat. School Monday through Friday, work Saturday morning, maybe hangout and do something Saturday evening, and then homework on Sunday. Then it’s back to repeat. This has often left me feeling hopeless that my life is going to be like this until I graduate. And what then? Be drained again in college. The system needs to change. Students who truly care about school should not have to feel that they are giving up their childhood. Whenever we’ve had three-day weekends, I have felt much more refreshed having been given an extra day to just relax or do something finally for myself and not for school. Not only does the longer weekend provide an extra day of recovery, it provides a shorter week which at times is much less daunting than the standard five-days, thus creating a more balanced, and ultimately healthier lifestyle. 

Students’ weekends are not breaks anymore, they are simply homework catch-up days that don’t allow much rest. Due to feeling overwhelmed, students miss school leading to a higher rate of absence. “Studies have shown that student attendance improves under a four-day school week. With a longer weekend, students have more time to rest and engage in extracurricular activities, which can lead to better attendance during the week. This, in turn, can lead to improved academic performance,” the National Conference of State Legislatures said. Therefore, the new schedule would leave students happier, increase academic performance and allow schools to receive good funding as a result of lowered absences. 

Not only is the four-day school week beneficial to students, it’s beneficial to teachers as well. “With an extra day to plan lessons, grade assignments and attend professional development opportunities, teachers can feel more prepared and engaged in their work. This can lead to better job satisfaction, which can translate into better classroom performance,” the National Conference of State Legislatures said. 

I am not saying less school, I am simply saying a better balance. I understand that the district needs to meet the required educational hours in order for funding, so to make up for lost hours, school days would either have to be longer, or the calendar would cut into summer. Cutting into summer is the better option because although the long break is nice, having this break divided up throughout the year is much more refreshing. Also, if the other option is chosen, students with already short attention spans would struggle to stay focused and ultimately, this would be detrimental to their learning. Along with this, the longer school day would push back students’ sports practice and leave them with less time to do their homework, causing them to stay up later. Therefore, I propose having a Tuesday through Friday school week with a shorter summer break. 

I understand that I may appear to just be a highschool student complaining about being tired, but it is so much more than that. We as humans need to look at our lives and truly evaluate what is most valuable: working tirelessly to reach at the end of our journey what society has deemed as “success”, or having a better balance in life that leaves us experiencing true success throughout the entire journey. So let us start by allowing high school students this extra day off.