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What we need to consider about deadlines and how they affect students mental health

Due dates, and how they ruin your work. 

Lukas Ramakrishnan, Staff Reporter
Originally published October 25, 2019

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

When you ask a student how their day is going, the answer it usually a mishmash of tired, stressed, and upset. You don’t need to go far to see the effects stress can have on our students.

But why is this?

Stress is synonymous with being a student. The combination of being in high school and the workload that comes with it can be too much for many to manage.

Enforcing deadlines only add to this. By forcing students to complete work in a certain timeframe, it also causes them to make compromises on both the quality of their work and their mental health. This is true for a lot of students, like senior Maddy Greekas.

“With extracurriculars and homework, it becomes a lot on my plate,” Greekas said.

The work itself can be completed if the student has proper time management, but at some point it just becomes too much to manage.

Erin Gibson, an intern at the Teen Health Center, elaborates on the issues currently affecting students. 

“Teens are already going through a tough time trying to be more independent, baseline stresses only compounds this. And different people have different coping methods, and for some, that is putting aside work,” said Erin Gibson, an intern at the Teen Health Center.

Constrained time to complete tasks and poor time management can often lead to critical oversights in workflow, allowing mistakes that would otherwise be accounted for to go through into a final product. 

Greekas is currently a captain of the dance team, and her balancing that with her student life has sometimes affected her work.

 “Definitely, 100%, especially if they are around the same time. That’s two deadliness I have to worry about at the same time,” Greekas said.

These realizations have led to many pundits starting to shift their ideas on deadlines, and how more efficient guidelines for work can be created. 

“Students are already stressed, just by nature of how their brains are developing at this age. They are balancing their social lives with school and other things and it adds up,” Gibson said.

Reducing the necessity of deadlines allows for more flexible workflows, where students are more readily able to showcase their creative ability. Simple policies such as adding a “no questions asked” extension can allow students the flexibility they need in an already stressful time to create better work, which not only helps their grade but also their learning.

But making the deadlines easier isn’t the only way to help students ease stress. Teachers can also work to build closer relationships with students and allow personal excuses for work. Student’s lives don’t always have the flexibility that teachers sometimes perceive. Things like family commitments, religious events and unforeseen emergencies can all barricade students from completing work. Knowing that they can go to their teachers with the presumption they will be understanding could be extremely helpful for students. 

Of course, there is merit to the idea of a deadline, because it teaches time management. But to what extent should we be forced into arbitrary deadlines? Work that is assigned to students should account for pressures already faced by those them, and not create an unmanageable pile of work. 

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What we need to consider about deadlines and how they affect students mental health