Student says…

The whole point of this article/section is that whenever I feel the need to do so, I will go off my head at something that really annoys me, or to borrow a Peter Griffin phrase, “Grinds my gears”.
So, to start off, I thought I’d rage about something very dear to the hearts of every student at Whitefriars, whether they know it or not.
Guys, at my age, have a lot on our plates. We have:  

  • Schoolwork.
  • Homework.
  • Extracurricular activities.
  • Compulsory events that the school just decides out of nowhere we are required to be at.
  • Exams and study. 

Not to mention society demands that we:

  • Learn how to drive.
  • Get a job.
  • Form relationships.
  • Become valued members of the community.

And, as we’re going through puberty, we also have the added conundrums of:

  • girls (or boys, as I know some of the guys are into. Not judging)
  • finding time for recreation.
  • Our friends.

All in a measly 24 hours?
These are supposed to be the best years of our lives. And yet I seem to be spending most of it rushing from one event to another, trying desperately to stay ahead of the clock as we frantically complete (often inadequately) the required tasks before we rush off to another location, another event, to do it all again.

The lack of time is astounding. Not to mention that large amounts of students here at Whitefriars live out in the Eltham area, myself included, and spend the better part of 2 hours each day traveling to and from school.

Labor Day celebrates the idea of the 8 hour day, i.e. 8 hours of work, 8 hours of recreation, 8 hours of sleep. With school and society demanding more and more, I’m experiencing more like 12 hours of work, 6 hours of recreation (including travel time) and 6 hours sleep. And when I say 6 hours of recreation, I mean 5 ½ hours doing homework, studying and preparing stuff for school the next day, and ½ hour collapsed in a heap, exhausted.

What am I supposed to do? Cut down on time spent doing homework? No, I can’t do that, my teachers will murder me and I will fail VCE and end up as a pathetic failure who considers the dung in the gutters to be a decent meal.
Maybe I should give up relaxing altogether? No, I can’t do that, my friends will treat me like an outcast, and I’ll have nothing to enjoy in life and end up committing suicide, or worse, become a bureaucrat.
Perhaps I could try cutting down on sleep? No, my doctor tells me that I need to sleep, otherwise my body will just collapse into a shuddering heap, waiting to be feasted upon by carrion birds, lawyers and other such blood-sucking parasites.

Is it any wonder that 1 in 4 young people aged 16-24 suffer from a mental illness, usually an anxiety disorder or depression? And that at least 33% of young people will have an episode of a disorder before they hit 25?

Who can we place the blame on for this? The answer is staring right back at us whenever we look in the mirror. Ourselves.

We, as a society, have become so fascinated with making our children the smartest, brightest, most talented and most popular people they can be, that we as a society have forgotten that we, your children, are still just that. Children.
 Society, in its misplaced sense of “doing what’s best for the children”, have hurt the ones we so desperately wanted to protect. We are taking innocent, pure children, and manufacturing them into cynical, world-weary, automatons constantly worried about the next piece of work to be completed. And we call it an education.

If we continue on this path, the future will simply be a bland, grey world, filled with vast, towering office blocks, where the tiniest ray of hope is cruelly crushed under the weight of worries, work and bureaucracy. If this is the world we are heading for, if THAT is the fate of humanity, then I am ashamed to be called a human.

I know this will mostly go unnoticed. After all, you have far too much going on to stop for 5 minutes and read this article. I personally struggled to find the time to put this all together. That is the bitter irony of the whole situation. No-one has enough time to acknowledge they have no time. But please, let kids have time to be kids. They’ll thank you for it.

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5 thoughts on “Student says…

  1. Haha, I love the ironic statement no-one has the time to acknowledge they have no time. I have to say, I really agree with a lot of what you said, things really do tend to cramp up and it’s all rush rush so you can’t be settled and actually enjoy or properly learn in what you’re doing. And yes, very valid point in saying we need relaxation, a social life and a chance to have a life outside of school. Sometimes we can forget that these things are very important, glad you have acknowledged it and put up a stand for the rest of us. And why live life if you can’t enjoy it? You need the balance.

  2. Hi,
    I’m a teacher in a large school(primary) and totally get what you are saying! I don’t have a clear cut answer to this problem, but what I do know is that a young person with as much insight as you will go far. I loved taking the time to read your post and you inspired me to have a relaxing weekend! My only advice is invest your time well. Prioritise and really consider the value of what your doing! All too often I get caught up doing a hundred things at once, when I really don’t need to. If you can transfer the insight, humor and obvious talent for writing you displayed in this post then maybe (just maybe) you can lighten your load. Look forward to your next insightful post and all the best with your busy life!

  3. Hi! I am a teacher in a small rural school and I tend to agree on many of the points you raise. I do not like to give much homework in the middle years of school as I think that ‘kids need to be kids”. There is a lot of pressure on students through the senior years of school to complete homework, acquire top results etc and this can lead to a lot of anxiety. However as I do teach VCE, I also get annoyed with students who do not do some work at home, nor in their spares. Organisation is the key and a balanced life style that combines leisure and work to good effect
    Even in the teaching world I am under pressure with lots of school work to complete. However, I set myself lists, time schedules etc and try to work out some ‘life’ for myself. However, please enjoy these school years as they really are ‘ the best days of your life’. All the best in these last years of school. Work hard, achieve and gain satisfaction that you have done the best you can.

  4. Please don’t feel ashamed to be called a human. Your heartfelt post displays talent for skills that are uniquely human…such as the ability to reflect and communicate using language.
    As a mother of an 18 year old son who feels like you do, and a Teacher who has taught many students like yourself, I know where you are coming from.
    You have highlighted a worrying issue, that of mental illness. Good on you for having such insight into the consequences of young people being overloaded with the expectations of society today. Keep the conversation going amongst your friends, just chatting about depression and anxiety can help sometimes.
    I don’t have the answers for you…except to say that I listened to my son before he fell of the edge…and he is now training to become an electrician. Hands on learning in the workplace has been the his way of getting on in life…and he loves it.

  5. You raise a valid point. Many young people’s lives are seriously overprogrammed. I also suspect that quite a lot of time is wasted with the mechanics of organisation. It’s good to see you haven’t lost your sense of humour.

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