School is something that, here in America, we as students appreciate and try not to take for granted, as we know that others in different countries would go to extremes for the opportunity of receiving a good education. However, there are instances where students' suffer extreme stress, sleep deprivation and are mentally affected because of school. I asked 12 students what they liked and disliked most about school to analyze how most students in the environment around me truly felt about school.
1. Maria Zulfiqar, rising college freshman
"What I like the most about school is getting the chance to explore things you love. For example, I got very involved in my school's Latin club because I liked Latin, and I appreciated the activities we had and the opportunities. I also really loved the teachers I had during my high school experience — they were always there if I needed them and often went above and beyond their roles.
"What I don't like about school is the load we get sometimes. I've had days where I have three or four back to back tests or projects, and that's always stressful. Teachers aren't so flexible in planning. And the workload can be about an hour or two per class, so if you take many Honors or AP classes, it can be detrimental to your mental health."
2. Anonymous, rising college freshman
"What I liked most ...was both its diversity and its efforts to celebrate the various cultures and ethnicities that comprise the school; this provided a sense of unity and belongingness that isn't found in most schools. However, what I disliked most was the competitive environment that the school, teachers [and] students have fostered in the efforts to achieve these standards of excellence in academics, athletics and arts; this countered the intentions of bringing a school together by creating a place of fear and disunity."
3. Hafsa Waris, rising 6th grader
"I like that we get to meet friends almost every day, and you always have someone to talk to. I also like how we can teach the things that we know to our classmates and help them. I don't like learning hard math. I don't like how we always have to learn and a lot of the time the learning gets really hard. I also don't like all the tests and all the pressure we are under. I don't like some of the teachers because some of them either really like students or really don't like them.
"I don't like how sometimes the teacher blames the students for things they didn't even do. I don't like the mean subs that don't let us talk. I don't like how sometimes they give too much homework that we don't even need to do. I don't like that some teachers favor a student a lot so they always act nicely towards them. I really don't like when people cheat and copy answers. I don't like how sometimes people are judged [by] their race or religion. I don't like when teachers tell us to answer questions about something that we never learned or something that we learned about very briefly."
4. Anna Lowrance, rising high school junior
"Dislikes: No windows, unsanitary conditions, depression [and] suicide problems, racism, horrible teachers, horrible athletics, serious cheating problems, ridiculously high standards, all rich kids who think they have it so hard, no sidewalks leading up to school, no air conditioning or heat, (upperclassmen) can't leave for lunch yet school lunches suck, teachers suck… Likes: We have a decent stadium and weight room."
5. Kadesha D'silva, rising high school senior
"I enjoy school because it gives me a chance to see those I cherish deeply, for the most part. I don't like going to school because I can… be really dumb to people. I don't like school because of other people who are also dummies. I enjoy school because it gives me something to do with life. I don't like school because it's multiplied my feelings of self hatred."
6. Anonymous, rising high school freshman.
"One thing I like about school is the electives because they let you have fun. One thing I dislike is the teachers because they don't teach."
7. Sarah Paul, rising high school senior
"Some things I like about school is that I get to learn and better myself. I like seeing my friends and interacting with different types of people. Something I dislike about school is that sometimes it can be very cliquey. I also dislike having to wake up at 5 a.m."
8. Aiman Waris, rising college senior
"I like learning new things, when things connect from different subjects/classes, building off of what we know, case studies, when teachers do funny things, Inside jokes with friends, seeing friends. I don't like unreasonable deadlines, lot of work from all different classes piling up, feeling stressed, having no idea what's going on, gym / PE locker rooms and changing (feeling all sweaty in the middle of the day), unreasonable rules feeling dumb, when you're falling asleep in class because you're so tired, boring classes, busy work."
9. Zainab Mohammed, rising high school sophomore
"I like how you can meet new people and that in school, most of the time it's diverse so you get to experience new cultures and people. The thing i dislike about school is that sometimes new people have to change themselves for others because not everyone is open."
10. Ifrah Waris, rising college senior
"I like that school gives us a chance to learn about different people connect with peers that have the same interests as us. I like that school exposes us to a diversity of individuals we may have never met otherwise. I don't like when the curriculum limits student creativity in the name reaching standards that are set by officials who are very out of touch with school systems. I don't like assignments given for the sake of busy work that don't stimulate my mind in any way. I don't like when there's a gap in between subjects that build upon the previous subject; for example math — a lot of times teachers expect us to know something from a previous year that was never taught."
11. Rupkatha Banerjee, rising college freshman
"Something I liked about high school: my high school specifically offered multiple AP courses so I could take advantage of higher level course materials and explore my academic interests. Something I disliked: due to the competitive environment, I was never able to receive individualized help as a student. Teachers would structure the class around the fastest thinkers in each subject, and thus, I often found myself lost in many of my math and science classes."
12. Zoha Rahman, rising high school junior
"Obviously, the most important thing about school is that students gain knowledge in several areas. This is my most favorite aspect of school. Education creates a well rounded individual, and I think that's extremely important. However, I think school takes too many hours in the day."
From these responses, we can learn that there are many things students love about school and there are many things students appreciate, but also about the level of stress and discomfort school can cause. While this can cause us to learn to appreciate certain things in school more, it can also cause us to think about the conditions and standards of school and the mental health issues, stress, and exhaustion it can cause and how changing the way school functions may help students overall health and performance.