Finite Time Frustrates Teens


Junior Tillie Kozlowski is exhausted while studying for her upcoming US History test. Photo Credit: Teagan Dillon

Teagan Dillon, Staff Reporter

Junior Tillie Kozlowski is exhausted while studying for her upcoming US History test.   Photo Credit: Teagan Dillon
Junior Tillie Kozlowski is exhausted while studying for her upcoming US History test. Photo Credit: Teagan Dillon

In today’s world, idle time is often thought of as “wasted time.”  Thus, Americans constantly work above and beyond, filling their leisure time with work, errands, or other means of productiveness.

Mercy girls are no strangers to this common theme of cramming and rushing.  With endless amounts of homework, sports practices, and extra curriculars, Mercy students find it hard to just relax.

“I get home every day around 6,” sad junior Tillie Kozlowsi.  “I have to start my homework immediately in order to get to bed at a reasonable time. Sometimes I get irritable because I don’t even have time to talk to my family.”

The reason for such cramped schedules comes down to the need to get things done.  With so much to do, and so little time, sleep is often sacrificed.  Efficiency often decreases when sleep is given up, therefore leaving many people who sacrifice sleep for work less productive than others who are able to dedicate their time to one or two activities.

While this can be proven on an adult level—a recent Harvard study estimated American companies lost $63.2 billion one year in productivity due to sleep deprivation—it is also relevant for high school students.

“If I stay up late doing homework one night, the next day I’m completely dead and don’t even know what’s going on,” said junior Julia Rettig.

The same results apply to athletes.  In a Stanford study, basketball players who slept for 10 hours a night had improved performances in practice, with free-throw and three-point shots increasing by 9%.

When students are under pressure with homework and upcoming tests, many overwork themselves and forget to rest.

According to researcher William Dement, our bodies are designed to work in 90 minute intervals before they signal a break.  Often times, these signals are ignored and overcome with caffeine drinks, sugar and bodily energy reserves.

Accordingly, productivity is maximized when working in 90 minute intervals.

“When I try to give myself a break, I just feel even more overwhelmed because I know I could be studying or finishing my homework,” said sophomore Ally Eads.

The selectiveness of colleges often leads students to feel entitled to join every club, sport, or committee that they can.  Consequently, grades can suffer and time is not properly dedicated to each.

“Last year I joined everything because I thought it would look good on college applications,” said Kozlowski.  “But this year I chose to only participate in the things I actually care about, and I am happier and able to fully dedicate myself to them.”

Not only will minimizing your load make you more productive, but it will leave you happier and more fulfilled.  Overstretching yourself may cause you to become irritable, sleep deprived, and unable to enjoy each day.

“I think balance is one of the most important things you have to learn in high school,” said Kozlowski.  “Of course you want to be involved, but you also need to remember that spending time with friends and family, and even taking care of yourself, is equally important.”