South Lakes Sentinel

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High expectations leads to student stress

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Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are typically considered top notch. With the number of schools that offer either Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, it is no doubt that the students who attend schools in Fairfax County have a very rigorous and time-consuming course load.

For the Class of 2014, the nationwide average of SAT scores was 1,497, which was 171 points lower than the 1,668 average for 2014 graduates from FCPS. This shows how FCPS students are well prepared for this exam. One of the most logical explanations as to why they are so ready is that they have developed studious and focused habits because of the courses they take.

The question is why are FCPS students, students with higher than average test scores, so desperate to have a break from school? Why is it that when there is even the smallest chance of snow they have recently begun to run straight to social media and request FCPS to close?

Some may say it is because they do not care about school. However, exam scores show differently. Even if students do not care for a particular subject, the only way to pass tests is to study. If students are successfully ending courses with good grades, even in subjects they do not like, it shows that students care enough to put time and effort into their classes.

The majority of students do not want a break from school because they do not care. They want a break because they are stressed.

When students wake at 5:30 a.m., go to school until 2:10 p.m., get home at 3 p.m., spend four hours or more on homework, and participate in extracurriculars, it is no wonder students become stressed. The recommended amount of sleep for a teenager is nine hours a night, but in a lot of cases high school students consider themselves lucky if they get six.

While scheduling for the following school year, students are warned that advanced classes provide more homework than regular courses. For a multitude of different reasons, FCPS students still accept that challenge and take these hard courses.

The fact that a lot of teenagers are willing to take these classes shows that students do have a thirst for learning. Due to the expectations that are put on them, in a lot of cases, their desire to learn becomes combined and almost overcome by the desire to pass.

For example, tests helps students know if they actually understand new content. In that way tests are beneficial. The issue is that when a test is worth 30 percent of your grade, nine out of 10 times students are going to be more focused on passing the test then actually learning the material. Now, put multiple big tests on the same day and the results are students who are ready to have a mental breakdown.

Overall students have so much work to get done that they do not get enough sleep or exercise which leads to them getting stressed and not wanting to be at school. If teachers were to decrease the amount of homework they assign, then students would be more interested in learning. Lastly, if students are more interested in learning, then they would be less stressed, happier, and they will not be wishing for a day off of school.

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About the Writer
Meaghan McIntyre, online editor

Meaghan McIntyre is a senior and the opinion editor for the sentinel. As a third year journalist she is excited to expand her knowledge and skills involving...

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High expectations leads to student stress