School overload, overwork creates stress, burnout for students


   It’s 9:30 p.m. You’re still working on English homework. You’ve been doing it for three hours and you’re still not done. You want to take a break, but you can’t risk your grade dropping any further than it is already. What’s worse is that you still have math homework to do, too.

      Does this sound familiar at all?

     As students, we’re used to doing extra assignments that can take up time. However, we are all human; students, especially the ones taking higher-level classes, should not be subject to having so much work to do that we have panic attacks and stress-induced breakdowns. According to The Odyssey, “Too much stress can cause depression and anxiety. It can lower students’ self-esteem. Excessive amounts of stress can cause serious damage to both a student’s mental and physical health.”

       For the past few years, numerous conversations about mental health have taken place. Schools claim to care about the mental health of their students, but then proceed to overwhelm their students with work to the point where their mental health is getting worse. How does that make any sense?

     Furthermore, the stress of being overworked can also negatively affect physical health. According to, a person is, “more likely to suffer from adverse health problems, including neck, back, or chest pain, stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes,” and more. 

    Burnout from being overworked can even cause death. In 2016, over 750,000 people died from heart conditions and strokes related to overwork, according to VOA. It’s also worth mentioning that suicide is the second most common cause of death for college students, according to VeryWell Mind, due to the increased academic demands and the fast-paced environment, among other things.

      If people are dying from being overworked, why are we forcing students into that lifestyle? This will teach young people to bear the stress of work on their unprepared shoulders and cause them to take unnecessary damage to themselves.

    In elementary schools, students are not given homework on Fridays, nor are they expected to stay up late to finish schoolwork. Let’s refer to the quote, “let kids be kids.” This suggests that teachers give out less homework to allow children to grow and play, as they should. However, if this is the case, why can’t anxious-to-give-work teachers and by-the-book parents let teenagers be teenagers? Teenagers are still developing. We’re forming our identities, morals, and views of the world around us. Students cannot do this if they do not have time, and they certainly cannot do this if they’re sick or dead. 

     Now, don’t take this the wrong way; it’s not to say that there aren’t teachers who pace themselves with handing out work, and this isn’t meant to shame teachers who give out a lot of work, such as teachers who teach honors or AP classes. Higher level classes, by logic, are always going to give more work; they’re supposed to be a challenge. They’re supposed to stimulate the mind to work harder. However, a portion of teachers are just too generous when it comes to work, handing it out like they’re dealing cards in a Las Vegas casino. Instead, why don’t we deal the cards like we’re playing Old Maid?

     This is an issue that needs to be fixed. It’s not hard to see why. If teenagehood is the supposed, “best time to be alive,” then why are we spending it swamped in work and misery? 

     Educators, please think about your students, and consider the things students could be doing if they weren’t dealing with a migraine and aching eyes from having to stare at their physics homework for three hours.