Dreading the School Day Ahead

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Dreading the School Day Ahead

Althea Millman (12th)

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To the average high school student in the United States, the word “school” has a strong sense of dread attached to it… This sense of dread that hangs over a majority of high school students often stems from social issues, excessive workload, and a tunnel-vision focus on earning good grades or getting into college rather than learning.

Social issues are probably one of the most well acknowledged reasons for kids not wanting to go to school in recent years. This can be anything from diagnosable issues such as depression and anxiety, to gossip,drama, bullying or simply not fitting in. 

These factors are what is commonly portrayed in the media as well, what schools have focused their efforts on in terms of trying to make their campuses somewhere their students want to be.

The dread associated with going to school is very closely tied to the fact that students must maneuver through these social intricacies on a daily basis.


 In fact, when Senior Alexa Padilla was interviewed she opened up about her own experiences, saying “There’s days where I’ve begged not to go to school just because I feel like I don’t belong there.”

While these social issues must be dealt with, they should not be the education system’s sole focus because social issues are not the only, or even the most significant, reason that kids dread going to school. Instead, more often than not, students dread school because of how much work and stress they encounter on a daily basis.

For many students, going to school means another day crammed with reading assignments, worksheets, notes, essays, and more. The workload is extensive and can be excessive. Even the teachers know this. However, there is still a certain lack of understanding on the teacher’s part.

 Conventionally, about an hour of practicing a certain subject is suggested to fully grasp and retain material. Teachers will often use this guideline to justify assigning their students about an hour of homework a night. The problem being that they do not think about the fact that their students have up to 6 other classes. When one has an hour of homework for each of their six to seven classes, it adds up. 

“Some teachers…don’t really acknowledge, or they don’t care, that you have other classes that assign homework.” Padilla explains.

Students struggle to balance this extensive workload with the rest of their life; such as sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities, which is expected of any student hoping to be accepted by a notable university. When one does the math, it is found that there is quite literally not enough time in the day to go to school for 6 hours, do homework for 7,  participate in about an hour of extracurriculars, and still get the recommended minimum eight hours of sleep. 

Students dread the next school day because they know they will have to survive another day of this caliber, another day in the vicious cycle that is their excessive workload.

This was reiterated by Padilla who said, “It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have to do it every day…Waking up at 6 in the morning, coming to school, staying here until 3 and then having to go home and work.”

On the first day of school, students know to expect the usual lecture on behavior, attendance, and most importantly: grades. To the majority of high school students, the only reason they attend school is to get a passing grade. This is due to the fact that school has become less about learning, and more about earning a grade that satisfies one’s personal or academic requirements. 

For some, the pressure to achieve academic success comes from within and for others it comes from a parent, the school they attend, or the one they wish to in the future. 

Padilla expresses that a significant amount of her stress comes from the pressure to appeal to colleges. “You’re kind of told right from your freshman year… ‘get ready for college’.” she reveals.

In any case, most teens leave the desire to learn at the door before leaving for school. 

Without proper motivation, students dread going to school, knowing that, ultimately, they will have to do a superfluous amount of work in a hostile environment in order to earn their grade and fulfil the school day’s new ‘purpose’.