Opinion | Students are suffering mentally at the end of each quarter and year


Illustration by Kupu Sumi

At the end of each quarter, all of us as students seem to share the same experience during this time. Each and every one of us is in clear distress over final grades, turning in late work, and major final projects. Some of us either rise to the occasion, or completely suffer the consequences of not doing so. 

Nevertheless, there’s two sides to this classic narrative. Speaking from a student’s perspective, I personally find it hard to believe teachers really do understand how the final few days of the quarters affect us. The infamous line “I know you guys already have enough work, but…” After that “but”, I honestly stop listening. It is just such a contradictory statement. 

How can you say you understand our academic struggles and stress, yet continue to feed that flame we already have? Yes, it’s a teacher’s job to assign work and assignments, but I just can’t help but wonder why teachers can’t consult each other and figure out a way to not dump such substantial projects on us all at once. 

From a teacher’s perspective, I can also see ways students can improve their work ethic to relieve that stress and to evade burnout.   

“Extending deadlines, sometimes offering retakes, helping students make a schedule” are all ways math teacher Raquel Lopez helps her own students. 

We may think some teachers are simply out to get some of us, but in reality, we might just be making things harder on ourselves. 

Research from Stanford University has helped show that intense multitasking—being on phones, computers, and electronics while learning—decreases the efficiency of completing a given task (school work). Additionally, research-based on electronic devices shows that smartphones can actually reduce the ability to think to a person’s full potential.

It’s not just electronics that distract us in school, as well as in our own homes. 

I know that while I’m struggling to complete homework, the struggle to fight the temptation that comes with having my phone right next to me is incredibly difficult. I shamefully admit this, but I almost always lose that battle which is why I will take accountability. I am definitely at fault for some of my “student burnout” and I’ve come to terms with this. Not all cases of student burnout are like mine though. 

Sophomore Yomaris Roman shares her experience as someone who balances academics and sports.

“I prioritize academics for sure. I enjoy sports, but I make sure to put school over sports,” says Roman. “I actually get really stressed when teachers assign a lot of huge projects and assignments at the end of the quarter.”

Even those who recognize the importance of putting their education over athletics continue to struggle at some of the most stressful times like the end of quarters. 

Teachers seem to all give final assessments and projects at the end of quarters in order to evaluate each and every student they have. They try to figure out what’s clearly worked and what has not within their classrooms. In reality, it simply feels like we’re being tortured. 

Sure, I’m not the perfect student myself. I procrastinate, have late work to turn in and I could be managing my time a lot better. But, this extreme stress at the end of each quarter is unequivocally a shared experience with a majority of students, more specifically ETHS’ students. 

We cannot all have nearly an assessment for each class in the same week. We’re studying for about three different subjects, completing the assignments that are given along with these classes, and finishing up five different projects all at once. How is that supposed to be manageable? 

Students are tired and are still expected to soar high and above when it comes to academics. We’re burnt out! Overworked, enervated, and completely apathetic. 

When we look at other countries, like Finland for example, these are the countries in which students completely thrive off concepts like being given absolutely no homework. An average high school student in the U.S. spends roughly around six hours a day completing homework while on the other hand, Finnish students spend half the amount of time working on homework. Yet, these same Finnish students are those who lead the world in global scores regarding math and science. Finland prioritizes enjoying the small things in life and simply caring for your well being. 

School should not interfere with the joys in our personal lives. Sure, we should learn that sacrifices will one day have to be made in order to guarantee success, but school shouldn’t be all our life revolves around, especially at such a young age like ours. 

One well-known term that many have heard before in relation to student burnout is “senioritis.” Senioritis is defined as “a common affliction describing the lack of motivation felt by students who are reaching the end of their courses.” 

When you’ve grappled with school work for so long, at some point you’ve eventually given it your all, and there’s truly nothing left to give. Senioritis embodies this perfectly. 

Your last year in high school or college are supposed to be the years in which you simply soak everything up. Everything you feel as if you’ve missed out on or never got to experience, that is what your senior year is there for. To live it up. To fix your wrongdoings and to enjoy each and every second of this chapter in your life. 

Some seniors can’t bring themselves to do this because they don’t even feel like coming to school every day. They’re so young, yet feel like they’ve gone through years of torture for something that doesn’t even feel worth it to a point. 

Schools have always been overwhelming, but more recently, it’s felt as if you’re risking your entire well-being for an A in a class. Students are beyond exhausted, yet there’s so many solutions and steps we can take to make these situations easier on both teachers and students alike. So, of course, why don’t we?