Winter Blues – Could Spring Break Come Any Slower?!

In the season leading up to spring break, Centennial Students typically feel burnt out as there are little to no breaks from January through April. With the reinstatement of school on Presidents Day and the overwhelming amount of work coming to students, now is a more stressful time than ever. 

The reasons for this stress seem to be endless: sleep deprivation, being overworked, an excess of extracurriculars, and problems with family or friends; even those who are happy feel the pressure of those who are not. 

 “I’m more tired in the winter season because I play sports, and being a student athlete is tiring,” stated Centennial sophomore Kaleigh Williams when asked about her winter blues. She, along with many other students, believe that teachers overloading kids with work is the largest stressor Centennial students face these days, along with the fact that “some teachers don’t teach as well as they should, but they still give assignment after assignment like they already expect you to know how to do it. It’s not reasonable to try and complete assignments for 5 different classes that you don’t know how to complete and still be able to study for a test.”

For some students, the harsh grading of certain teachers is what causes all the stress. Centennial sophomore Hannah Fapohunda believes that if a teacher has “a reputation for constantly failing kids, I don’t think it’s the kids’ fault anymore. The teachers probably need to adjust how they’re teaching.”

Another one of the most common stressors for Centennial students, and high school students across the globe, is the lack of sleep students get. In fact, over 60% of students 30 interviewed or polled about their winter blues identified a lack of sleep as their number one stressor, and about 40% of those students stated that they get three to five hours of sleep per night on average, with no one exceeding seven hours.

“I’m incredibly sleep deprived,” asserted Centennial sophomore Henry Syme. “I tend to crash on Thursdays and Fridays and cram my work in from Monday to Wednesday in order to get some sleep. Students have a lot of after school activities, and managing that along with homework can just be a nightmare.”

Even freshmen such as Avy Ramreddy are barely getting any sleep or free time, with him proclaiming, “I feel like I have senioritis, but I’m only a freshman!” The Howard County Public School System schedule is being pushed back an hour for the 2023-24 school year, and many students are excited about the sleep they could potentially get, but some people also recognize that extracurriculars will be pushed back, leading to later sleep times. It seems that there may never be a balance between work and sleep in the school system.

Even in the midst of the season’s current dreariness, one grand hope for students is always spring break. Fapohunda exclaimed, “spring break is the only thing keeping me going at the moment,” and that sentiment would normally be shared by most students. This year, however, students are hesitant, fearing that teachers will assign an abundance of work during the break, as they’ve done in past years.

“I can’t even relax over breaks because I have a big project due in 2 months that I have to prepare for during those breaks,” Syme said. “I cannot balance my workload and extracurriculars during school weeks, so I’m practically forced to work over the break. Plus the breaks we have are too infrequent, so if we had a better break schedule, that might help me relax more.”

The county may believe that they have addressed the break consistency issue with the introduction of monthly half-days for mental health, but they are not really helpful as the half-days offset the schedule of students who have reluctantly prepared for a full week of school. Ramreddy believes that “having a day off every month, or even more often, would take a big load off of students’ shoulders. Teachers should also give students a reasonable workload that actually allows us to rest over breaks. That would really help students.”

All in all, the winter blues seem to have taken a toll on the student body of Centennial. Perhaps this is a sign that some reforms concerning work quantities and extracurricular activity length are needed so that students can feel rested and fulfilled when they go to school. After all, there are many students who are so burnt out that they share the same mentality as freshman Ben Kanowith, who triumphantly stated, “I want wages – I don’t get paid enough for this!”


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