School Less: Students should explore, be more involved in extracurriculars, shift focus away from grades

HiLite Staff

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The commencement of the school year means we will soon return to a time of overstressing about grades, late nights completing homework and fewer hours of sleep, all leading to an overall decline in our well-being.

However, though high school is a time in our lives for strong academic growth, more importantly, it is an adolescent period for growing.

During this period, high schoolers have the chance to try and learn about diverse ventures, whether it be trying new sports, researching an interesting topic or starting a charity with one’s friends.

According to a 2017 US News study, high school teachers on average give about 3.5 hours of homework a week. With seven classes, that totals to 24.5 hours. Combined with the findings of a 2018 Centers for Disease Control study, which found that 73 percent of high schoolers aren’t getting enough sleep, we ask students to truly evaluate the purpose of this rigor. Twenty, 10, even five years from now, what are the lessons we will remember from high school?

It is important to realize high school is a great time to try anything and foster new ideas. There will be very few times in our lives again when we have so many resources to our avail while also having so little fear of change or even failure, especially in terms of entrepreneuring our own business or renovating a club. Therefore, we encourage students to be more passionately involved in extracurriculars and other outside-of-school ventures this school year, because it will truly create the most personal growth while also creating the most positive high school experience.

At this school, one avenue for potential revitalization is our clubs: although we may have long-standing traditions, it’s important to consider implementing new ideas and events when necessary. For example, Senate has always hosted Homecoming trike races, but this year they have decided to change this event in hopes of getting more participation. Similarly, other clubs that are in a comfortable pace of repeating events annually and sticking to the same plans should also consider a voice of change, even if this means shifting some attention away from perfect grades and toward these personal projects.

Although academics are important, it’s equally important to encourage and focus on our growth outside of the classroom, too. The experiences we gain from our participation in extra activities can result in lessons just as important, if not more so, than the lessons we learn from assessments. Our free thought, radical ideas and personal experiences are what will drive change in the world someday, and these can all start in our own school.

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