Schools' Early Start Times Are Literally Harming Its Students

Schools' Early Start Times Are Literally Harming Its Students

Without sleep, functioning is impossible.
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It is 5:55 am, and my alarm honks at me annoyingly. I know I have two snoozes so I use them, but I finally jolt awake at 6:45. Oh, no, I'm already late. I was supposed to be leaving now!! I swing quickly out of bed and run into the bathroom, noticing suddenly how dark the house is.

Oh yeah. It's 6:45 in the morning.

Usually, my house would also be bustling, but my dad has already left to take my brother to middle school early for his band rehearsal, and my stepmom and stepbrother are about to get up with the same panicked feeling of tardiness that I experienced. I try to make myself hurry, but it is hard. I went to a club meeting afterschool, then I went to work and finally collapsed into bed to do some homework around 9:30. I think I finally nodded off around 1am - my third consecutive night of less than six hours of sleep.

Truth be told, for an 18-year-old female, I should be getting at LEAST 8h per night. By the end of the week, when I finally escape school Friday afternoon, I have a sleep deficit of close to 15 hours. At 30 hours, my immune system will weaken and I will get sick or begin to experience other mental or physical symptoms of unhealthiness.

"I'll sleep earlier tonight," I promise myself every day. Yet I usually cannot sleep earlier at night anyway, and only regret the late-night productivity (...or social media perusing) of the night before when I have to wake up the next morning. The truth is, if our entire days just began 2-3 hours later, everything would be much better.

To address the glaring point, people could sleep in. Less drowsy people are safer and more productive, are able to focus better and can more easily access their creativity since their brains are firing more quickly. They will perform better and will generally be happier, since a lack of sleep has been found to exaggerate and worsen symptoms of mental disorders like depression, anxiety and several mood disorders.

On the back end of the day, you have more safety on the road. Staying awake for 18+ hours impairs someone as if they had a BAC of .08, a legally drunk level for an adult (let alone a teenager who already lacks experience on the road); at 24 hours, it is like .1. In fact, 1/3 of people say they have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel, a driving problem that is worse than drunk driving because at least drunk drivers are conscious enough to swerve from an obstacle; an unconscious snoring driving will slam into it at 60 mph.

But most importantly, and logically, there is no reason to begin so early. Most clubs and before-school activities begin around 7:45 or 7:30, which is well earlier than the CDC's recommended start time and requires students to leave their houses even earlier to avoid traffic delays. Before-school athletic practices begin around 6 or 6:30. And it is not as if these earlier starts do anything to alleviate work on the back end - athletics and play rehearsals often go until 8 or 9, clubs stay at least until 4:30 or 5, and any students with an after-school job will probably not get home until 9 or 10. This leaves them forced to stay up late doing homework before dragging themselves out of bed blearily at 6:30 again the next morning.

With a later start, kids can either make up some of this lost sleep in the morning or choose to sleep earlier at night to rise in the morning and finish homework before school. As it is, this "burn the candle at both ends" mentality is dangerous - many teens are addicted to caffeine or other stimulants to keep themselves awake, stress disorders are at an all-time high with millennials (with whom the current student generation can be lumped in) leading, and many people believe they have lost free time to pursue personal interests.

Unless the goal is to work students to death, there is no reason for schools to begin so early. Kids' health is important, especially with relation to sleep as students are growing up. Why are elementary schools the earliest starters at 7:50, when these kids need the sleep to grow and develop? By moving the start times about an hour later, all of these problems would be fixed - and we would have a happier, healthier student population.

And if you think I'm just spitting numbers, I'll throw myself under the bus a bit; today, November 2nd, is the day after a Georgia Virtual School deadline as well as the Early Application deadline for most American colleges. I think I fell asleep around 3 last night, and this morning, I accidentally parked at Northview High School and prepared to go in for the day. I have never attended a day at Northview; but my brain was not fully engaged, I was zoned out, and I then continued to operate a 2-ton vehicle to get to my real school before my club meeting at 8.

Cover Image Credit: Professional Learning Board

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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20 Things That Going Away For College Taught Me To 100 Percent Appreciate

It made me more appreciative of things that you might not have a lot of access or very little access to when you're at school.

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Going away for college was one of the best decisions of my life, and if you're in high school and thinking about it, or having doubts, don't. It gives you an experience that you'll never have if you stay home. You become more independent from your parents, you make more friends, and the bond you share with them is even different from your friends from home or friends you only saw 5 days a week in high school.

It also made me more appreciative of things that you might not have a lot of access or very little access to when you're at school.

1. Family

Depending on how often you go home, you become more thankful for your family. Because you don't see them as much, your family doesn't have time to annoy you like they did when you were home. Sometimes, as close you get to your friends at school, there is nothing better than a hug from your mom, or wise words from your dad, or even some cuddles with your pet.

2. Food

Because most college cafeteria food is disgusting, you have more of an appreciation for a real meal at a restaurant (because you have to pay for yourself so you don't do that as much) or a home-cooked meal. There is nothing like something your mom makes homemade, and nothing compares to that favorite meal your mom makes. The best part is getting that specific meal when you're back home.

3. Your hometown

You can't miss your hometown if you don't get out of it. So when you go to that place you always go to with your friends, or you see a familiar face around town, you can catch up with them instead of knowing what's going on in town.

4. ​Money

For most of your freshman year, you don't work because you don't have a car and therefore you can't go anywhere without relying on someone, no matter if it's uber or your friend. You get a better appreciation of money because you need to learn what and what not to spend it on. There's not income you're receiving so there needs to be a way for you to save instead of splurge.

5. Your own bed

There is literally no better sleep than in your own bed.

6. Your friends from home

Because you're not able to see them during the weekend or when you're in school, you start to miss them. Of course there's FaceTime and texting, but there is nothing better than seeing someone for the first time in months, catching up on each other's lives like you never left and time hasn't passed at all.

7. Privacy

Because you have a roommate, or housemates, you really don't get a lot of privacy and when you do, it's cut short or you can't have all of it that you want because either other people have to use the bathroom, or your roommate is in the room. You can't control when and where your roommate is at all times, so when you go home to your own room, you make sure you take advantage of that time.

8. Just being home 

Being home, relaxing on your couch watching T.V. where you've spent your childhood, having the security of being in your house, is the best feeling.

9. Cleanliness

It depends on what type of person you are, but when you live with someone, you learn their habits and they way they live, no matter how gross or weird. I'm the type of person that loves my living space being clean, but some people don't care at all. When I go home to my clean house, I appreciate it a lot more because most people are how you say ~disgusting~

10. Being Messy

Okay, even the cleanest people aren't always clean. Sometimes I get too lazy and forget to pick up the outfits I try on in my room. Yea, you can't do that at school when you live with someone because 1. it's gross to look at 2. there's literally not enough room in a dorm to do that.

11. Baking

I literally baked all the time in high school; cupcakes, cookies, slutty brownies, regular brownies, you name it I baked it. I kind of forgot that I did that when I would come home from school and one day my dad asked me why I don't bake anymore. I had totally forgot that I did that and then I baked cookies. There's no oven at college- unless you live in a house- but even when there is an oven you really don't have the time and frankly, the money to go out, buy baking stuff, prep it, bake it, and put it in a fancy dish or bowl.

12. Alone time

Kind of similar to privacy but alone time is a luxury that no one should take for granted.

13. Driving

At least during freshman year, you have to be reliant on other forms of transportation because you're most likely not allowed to have a car on campus. Even driving no where for no reason is something I took for granted.

14. Hometown/ Home-state people

Finding someone that lives near or where your hometown is is something like a euphoria because sometimes you know the same people, and everyone loves a sense of familiarity and nostalgia, and maybe even a lil gossiping. You know the same lingo, places, and everyone else is weird.

15. Music

Okay slightly weird and maybe not as relatable but when I came to college, I became sort of nostalgic to music and especially my student account for Spotify premium made me listen to a lot more music, especially since I didn't have to pay to listen to every song like iTunes. I started making playlists of songs my parents listen to that I liked, songs I used to listen to that I still like, songs that fit certain moods, and I branched out to new artists. I've always appreciated music, especially because my taste has been hugely influenced by my parents, and it connects me to people I probably wouldn't connect with otherwise.

16. Your home shower

Communal showers, and even showers in a suite (where you might get toe fungus so you wear flip flops) is incomparable to the cleaner, less populated and better working shower at your house.

17. Sick days when your mom takes care of you

Now I have to get up and get myself medicine, and make my own soup in the microwave. And I don't even have crackers and Gatorade.

18. Fast Food 

Because it's cheap and good. Oh it's not good for you? I'm here for a good time, not a long time.

19. Not having to do laundry 

Not that you expect your mom to do it, it's just great that she does it anyway. Thanks, mom.

20. Your Mom

There's literally no one more loyal and caring than your mother, and when you're at school and you don't have her in the next room, or even the same room, you want to call her for everything and anything. Don't though, she'll probably kill you.

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