Documentary exposes students’ burdens

Haley Gilmore

In the documentary, Race to Nowhere, doctors and experts around the world are finally realizing that the work load of high school is too much for teenagers to handle. Experts on teen depression are linking the amount of stress put on students to depression and even suicide.

Students have so much homework they don’t have enough time for family, friends, or even free time for themselves. Some parents only see their children for twenty minutes at dinner every day. Students are overscheduled between school, sports, homework, and sometimes, even more sports. High school is turning into a place where everyone’s main focus is impressing colleges. What happened to “high school will be the best time of your life?”

In Race to Nowhere, one girl explained how she had no time to eat because she was constantly doing homework. This then turned into anorexia without her even realizing it. Some students just aren’t hungry when they are stressed. Other students are stress eaters and eat away their emotions. Both of these eating habits are bad for one’s health.

Some students are also resorting to drugs in order to keep up with their work, and it’s not the assumed marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. They’re taking Adderall, a prescription medicine that treats ADHD and Narcolepsy, a sleep problem. Nowadays many students know at least one person from whom they could get Adderall. Students claim they’re not abusing it, they’re just taking it to help them stay focused and get their work done. While students seem like they’re okay on the outside, they’re actually hurting on the inside. The stress is leading to negative behaviors.

One AP Biology teacher in the documentary realized that as the homework load of his students decreased, their AP scores increased. The implication is that homework doesn’t make a student any smarter. Some overworked students have their parents do their homework, copy assignments, or just completely ignore it all together. Studies presented in Race to Nowhere showed that there were eight main ways that students cheat.

Currently, some teachers are only worried about test scores and the bonus checks they’ll get for good scores. It should be the quality of the teaching that matters not who gets the most 5’s on AP tests. Many teachers only teach what will be on the test. This results in missed information related to the subject and cutting out important lessons.

The main skills that are needed in adulthood are analytical and critical thinking skills. Just because students work hard every day, doesn’t mean they’ll earn the grades they want. Even if they get into the college of their dreams, how are they going to afford it? Sure some students might get a scholarship, but that may only pay for a small portion of college.

The only way to be successful in life is to love what you’re doing. High school isn’t fun for students anymore and is making them give up. Every year, competition gets tougher and tougher. In the end, students are racing to be the best but many end up with nothing in the end. Race to Nowhere was presented by HZ Cares on February 7 in the auditorium