This post is for you.
Are you completely burned out and sick of forever doing homework? Does it seem like a never-ending pile of pointless worksheets, essays, math problems, projects and labs? How I remember those days! Sometimes I would have so much homework that I would spend an entire Sunday just trying to catch up. On really, really bad days I remember staying up until I crashed, and then waking myself up at 3 or 4am to work on it again before going to school. Yuck!
The good news is if you work hard now, it pays dividends later. Once you finish school and have a job, you generally get to do your work at work. Home is for just being home. This isn’t always true as there are lots of jobs that require some extra stuff to be done at home, but for the most part you won’t have homework anymore.
However, being that you’re probably at least a few years of high school and several years of college away from no more homework, let’s talk about some things you can do now to ease the burden. This information was given to me by a friend who tutors AP Physics students, and teaches at the high school level.
1. Take the appropriate classes: Challenge yourself and do your best. You don’t have to take every possibly AP class that’s ever been offered though. Even if you’re trying to get into a top notch university, that doesn’t guarantee your future success. What college you attend doesn’t actually mean very much even 3 years out of school. Don’t over-focus on this. What is important is how well you do at whatever college you do attend. You will need to get to know the professors, and collaborate with one or two of them on projects and studies. This makes you a stand-out whether you attend San Diego State or Harvard. So, for now, take classes that get you where you want to go, but stop there. Know your limits. There is more to life than just academic success.
2. Work while your working: Part of the reason adults don’t have homework is because they work while they’re at work. When you sit down to do homework, focus on getting your work done. If you don’t allow your mind to wander, phone to distract you, or TV to entertain you, you really do get things done A LOT faster. You can probably read a page out of your history book each minute or two if you are really reading it. Also, you will absorb more of it so you won’t have to study as hard later.
3. Work smarter: So many students don’t know how to study efficiently. It’s important to study what you don’t know, and just browse over what you do know. Skim read when you can, and read in depth when you need to.
4. Study regularly: Cramming doesn’t work. It also inhibits your sleep. You perform better if you’re well rested.
From the perspective of a therapist, following my friend’s advice can really help you reduce your stress. I want nothing more than for you to live a life you can enjoy, while still learning how to work hard. I want to see you mature into an adult who can withstand some pressure, but doesn’t create extra pressure because of bad work habits. School is an opportunity to learn how to work smart, and manage stress. It doesn’t teach you these things if it becomes too overwhelming though.
Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT