All Work and No Play…

Another productive study session...

This past week was finals week at Palo Alto High School. For most people this is synonymous with hugely increased stress levels, workloads, and a huge decrease in the amount of sleep they get. It also means that kids don’t get to leave the house for about a week, except to go to school, or study. This serious lack of any kind of physical activity, completely drained me.
I would just like to tell all parents, and all students who stay up until 3 in the morning studying for a final the next day, that in my opinion, a lot can be gained from taking breaks and getting sleep. If I had my way, I would hang out after school with friends, doing anything from rough-housing to playing music, or biking (basically anything outdoors). Then, go home around 5:30 pm and eat dinner with my family. Study for an hour or two, whatever was necessary, work out a little, then finally go to bed around 10 pm.

To most parents, this proposed schedule sounds crazy (even with my own parents), but I think it’s probably the best way to deal with all of the stress that is put on this week. What’s the problem with having fun in-between being serious? It can only help you to be more focused when you actually sit down to study. All I’m saying is that I see all of the kids with red eyes and huge bags, and I hear their groans every time they walk in the classroom, and I think that this could all be solved by letting them go outdoors and be physical, as long as they also do a reasonable amount of studying.

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2 Responses to All Work and No Play…

  1. Mike Lanza says:

    In my freshman year of college at the University of Pennsylvania, a couple friends of mine and I tried to get some other guys to play a two-hand-tab football game during finals week. Everyone laughed at us.

    Then, I transferred to Stanford University, and in my first quarter there my friends and I played a great game of ultimate frisbee every afternoon during finals week.

    Guess what? I don’t think I did any worse in my finals at Stanford. In fact, I may have done better.

    At Penn, an East Coast school, it seemed like you had to be miserable and complain all the time during finals week to get any respect from others. At Stanford, it was the opposite – people thought you were a loser if you looked like you studied too hard.

    Stanford had the healthier attitude, and our studies didn’t suffer at all. We *needed* that ultimate frisbee workout every day for our sanity.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wish I could remember who what where and when there was a recent study that talked about this very thing. The point is that young people, especially those of high school age, have particular genetic, hormonal, time-clock type things going on in their bodies that suggest they need more sleep than adults or younger children. We all know that at a certain age we certainaly enjoy sleeping in a lot longer. In response to this study, the Toronto school board was looking at a pilot study project that would shift the school day to start at 10 or 11 in the morning and end at 5 or 6 in the afternoon. The idea is to capitalize on the the most productive and alert period of the day for teenagers and, hopefully, get them to learn more. It’s an interesting idea, but I doubt that it will address the problem of cramming for exams. As my grad 10 geometry prof used to say… If you did all your work in the first place, you wouldn’t have to cram in the last place!