Laurel’s Loop: Sleep, grades, or a social life: pick two

Laurel Neitling ‘16

Copy Editor

“The homework should only take you 30 minutes,” a student hears for the sixth time that day.

The intention of homework is great, but it is simply not realistic. A mandatory seven hours of school should not be paired with two to three hours of homework. Teenagers rush from school to practice to clubs to youth group to a part-time job, and come home after dusk only to face a six-book –high workload.

A teenager’s day begins with a seven-hour school day. Throughout this period of time, teachers expect a student’s undivided attention. One or two hours of attentive learning is understandable; however, expecting a student to stay actively involved from their seated position for an entire seven hours is insanity.

Many students either participate in a sport or another extracurricular activity, typically taking up a minimum of two hours. While these activities are not technically required, they are a necessity for both college and scholarship opportunities.

College admissions officers also factor in a student’s work history. Managing such a mature responsibility on top of regular duties shows an emerging adult’s ability to balance the various obligations of life. A part-time job typically takes up at least four hours in the day.

Homework time! Going on the assumption that each class gives around 30 minutes of homework each night, I will generously say students spend around three hours on homework. Depending on the number of AP classes in a person’s schedule along with a teacher’s expectations, that number can increase dramatically.

Personal hygiene is an absolute must. If a teenager really scrambles, he/she can shower and brush his/her hair within a 30-minute span. This is assuming that the teenager has no intention of drying their hair.

A young person can warm up and eat a pre-made meal in 30 minutes with a little pep in their step. Perish the thought the poor child is responsible for preparing their own dinner with such a limited schedule.

Assuming most youth have hobbies outside of schoolwork and sports practice, another two hours of their day have disappeared. Without making time for their own passions, a teenager is risking their sanity.

While teenagers do have a chance to socialize throughout the various activities in the day, it is only realistic to factor in two hours for socialization outside of that. Mall trips and late-night fast-food trips seem pointless, although these are paramount to maintaining a teenager’s mental health.

Adolescents are also expected to contribute to their household. Even simple chores, like doing the laundry or washing the dishes, can quickly add up. For a person to be considered an active participant in the household, it would take a minimum of one hour each day.

According to, teenagers require nine hours of sleep per night to function properly. Considering this is the last stop of their day’s journeys, teenagers tend to skimp on their shuteye.

Any chance you added that up?

31 hours.

Don’t worry though, you’re a teenager, so you don’t have any real responsibilities aside from fitting 31 hours-worth of obligations into a 24-hour span.

Before the world labels us the lazy generation, they might want to consider renaming themselves the demanding generation.