Low stress weeks increase students’ stress

Brighton Balfrey

Senior Sid Satya walked into the library after school with many stressful things on his mind: AP Economics test, AP Biology test, AP Statistics test, multiple other assignments all in the next week.

There are two problems with this scenario. One is that Satya shouldn’t have had three tests next week in the first place; some were supposed to fall this week. The other is that the point of having a reduced stress week is to give students a break from studying, yet Satya has had to spend much of his free time preparing for a grueling next week.

Among other changes to Homecoming this year, ASB requested that teachers lighten the load of classwork and tests so students can enjoy homecoming festivities without worrying about losing time to study. Satya, however, is dedicating all of his extra time to studying.

The unintended consequence, as AP Economics teacher Pete Pelkey says, is that most teachers have just pushed due dates back to next week. Extra work next week means that stress is just being delayed by a week. While this may sound like a win for students, who had dress up days all week and have a football game and dance over the weekend, it isn’t as clear cut as it seems.

74.3%

of teachers believe that postponing assignments will make next week more difficult for their students.

“It can do more harm than good in terms of general student population because not everyone sees the value of Homecoming,” Satya said.

Satya is right. While many students love and cherish Homecoming, there are also many students who either dislike or have neutral feelings about it. For these students, the extra time does not make the week any better. Leadership has prioritized homecoming over tests and homework, yet not all students have these same priorities.

Furthermore, most students would agree that having extra work lingering in the back of their minds can take the joy out of Homecoming altogether, even for the students that do enjoy it. Work has just piled up on students, creating a harder-than-usual week directly following homecoming.

As someone who does take part in homecoming celebrations, senior Dara Woo said that her week has been far from the fantasy it is supposed to be.

“I feel guilty going to homecoming, going to the dance because I have so many tests the next Monday,” Woo said.

As homecoming week comes to an end, students pack into the library to prepare for next week’s exams.

Another problem with this so-called “stress free” week is that while some teachers honored the request, many did not. Sophomore Sreya Nandy said she would’ve liked the reduced workload this week if teachers had actually given her a reduced workload. Because ASB can only request, and not order, teachers to tone down their assignments for students, there is no accountability on the part of the teachers. Nandy said that her week has been typical, with a project due on top of other assignments.

And while the reduced stress week may be beneficial to the student body, it mostly aids the policy makers themselves. Satya noticed the real winners himself.

“The only students that really benefit from these changes are the ones running homecoming, hence ASB and class office,” Satya said. “If [ASB and class office] want to really address the needs of the 2000 kids that attend Monta Vista High School, [they’re] not doing the right thing.”

Next year, ASB needs to consider the unintended consequences of making these kinds of requests. It is definitely a conflict of interest when the policy is most beneficial to the creators of it themselves, while leaving some students with a result that they are not pleased with. In years to come, student input should be taken into consideration a little bit more, as many students, including Satya and Woo, feel like they have gotten left behind.