Exhaustion Express

Many students are exhausted throughout the day.

Hana Roggendorf

Many students are exhausted throughout the day.

Hana Roggendorf and Mattie Spillane, Staff Writer

Many students are exhausted throughout the day. (Hana Roggendorf)

Dear Hall High Student,

 

Can you think back to a morning, maybe this week, maybe the last, when you were walking down the hall, surrounded by fellow students? To your right you may have seen a student with Airpods in, their nose in their phone, and a gloomy expression. To your left you notice a different student, their hoodie swallowing them, feet dragging across the floor. 

You get to first period to find some classmates with their heads down, slumped over their desks. Others with glazed-over eyes and a blank stare. The teacher says, “Good morning,” but no one answers. Another routine day has begun at Hall High School.

Chances are you have had a similar experience before, but school hasn’t always been this way. Looking back on our early days of education, we and our peers found excitement and joy in attending school each morning. We would eagerly prance out the door, some to the bus, some to the sidewalk, ready for their daily walk to school. 

During our journeys we would greet our friends, laughing, smiling, and happy to see them after a long night’s rest. Once at school we would play and socialize, explore and be curious about the world around us. Where has this love of learning gone?

At Hall today, far too many students, us included, have lost the pleasure in expanding our knowledge, trying new things, and chasing our interests. Heavy work loads, little sleep, and an ever-present pressure to be successful has led students like ourselves down the path of inevitable burnout. So how do we stop this cycle?

For many, the school day begins with the blare of an alarm coming after only a few hours of sleep the night before. The early start to school is difficult, and prevents us from getting the necessary amount of sleep required to power through the day. As a later start to the school day seems unlikely, it is up to us as fellow sleep-deprived scholars to take our rest schedules seriously. 

During our time at Hall, we have observed how many students believe a lack of sleep is something to be proud of. They share their “accomplishments” with their peers, somehow signaling their superiority. If you find yourself in a conversation like this, encourage those around you to get a healthy amount of rest, emphasizing that sleep is not something to overlook or neglect (even for homework or Tik Tok).

Even after a good night’s rest, many feel annoyed to start another day of school.  The school year can feel repetitive, especially with the eight-period schedule.  So, if you are having a morning like this, find something you are looking forward to about the day and help your peers to do the same. 

Additionally, school can feel overwhelming, so throughout the day, find moments to make it a little more enjoyable for yourself and others. Greet a friend in the hallway, share a laugh in the lunchroom, or catch up with a teacher from past years. When you begin to look for the positives in the school day, it may not seem so draining or monotonous. 

A tiring day of academics, social interaction and worried thoughts is taxing. Students are exhausted. When the school day ends there is nothing we would rather do than flop down on our beds or cozy up with some Netflix and a good snack. Instead, we find ourselves rushing to the locker rooms to change for after school sports, or walking back down the halls to meet with a teacher for extra help. Some of us go to clubs, or music rehearsals, or alternative extracurricular activities.

However, some of these students don’t attend these activities out of passion or a deep desire to be there. The pressure to “do everything” is abundantly present at Hall. Perhaps this comes from a desire to impress our peers but more often from a desire to impress an admissions counselor. This leads to a pattern of students involving themselves in activities just to go through the motions. 

As adolescents, we should be following our passions and engaging in activities that bring us joy, not checking boxes for a college application.  Nevertheless, the two of us are guilty of this ourselves. The pressure to be involved in everything can be found driving many of our decisions. 

Instead of joining random clubs that you think will look good for a college or future job, involve yourself in a few extracurriculars that you truly enjoy partaking in.  You may find that you can show up more and be a more thoughtful and engaged contributor to the activities most important to you. 

After a long day of school, sports, and activities, you return home. Once you open up Google Classroom you find an array of assignments waiting for your time and energy. If you are “lucky,” your parent or a family member may come into your room to remind you of your other obligations. Dishes must be washed, clothes must be folded, and you may be asked, “Have you started that SAT prep book I got for you?” 

It is often hard for parents to understand the stress on students today. They try – reading articles or listening to knowledgable speakers – but it is almost impossible for them to grasp our feelings of constant exhaustion. Sometimes all we need when we return home is quiet and time to decompress. 

So how do we break this pattern? To be honest, we have trouble answering this question ourselves. For so many years, the idea of being the best has been ingrained in our minds. It is hard to imagine a world where our self-worth doesn’t rely on our grades, or where our happiness doesn’t derive from outward validation. 

In our opinion, one of the most special parts of Hall is the community. Despite our own personal issues, stresses or problems, time and time again we see students looking out for one another. We have witnessed students who are complete strangers check in with one another, and upperclassmen reaching out to offer support to younger students. It is moments like these that make us proud to go to Hall, and give us hope for our school and generation. 

As a student body, we must begin to put things into perspective. Good work ethic and drive are important characteristics to develop, and Hall has helped us to hone these skills. But we must not prioritize developing these traits over doing what makes us happy and learning how to lead healthy lives. Having these repetitive days can become an endless cycle, but with more understanding and support of one another we can try to improve our collective emotional well-being. 

Above all, care for one another, whether it be the stranger in the bathroom, a classmate you’ve never talked to, or an old friend. These winter months consist of less daylight and more stress, so we must foster an environment of support rather than one of competition. 

These challenging days have not all been for nothing. Continue to work hard, but remember to enjoy the moment and make time to indulge in the unique and exciting aspects of being a teenager. You have earned it, and if no one else has told you recently, we are proud of you.  

 

Sincerely,

Hana and Mattie