There is no doubt that homework is an essential part of learning; vital in retaining and applying information.
However, too much homework can lead to diminishing health, social life and grades. Teachers want their students to succeed and utilize their newfound skills in the workplace but many don’t consider just how much they’re asking of their students.
Most students take an average of four-six classes a semester, depending on their major. It’s been found that a student taking four courses usually devotes about five hours per day doing homework, in addition to actual time spent in class, according to Courtney O’Banion Smith of TheClassroom.com.
If a student’s class is anywhere from one-three hours long, that’s on average six-eight hours spent per day on course material alone. This doesn’t even factor in if a student takes multiple classes a day. If a student has, let’s say, three classes a day, this is a range of 8-14 hours a day.
For most students, school is their ultimate focus. However, this doesn’t mean that students don’t have other goals or commitments outside of the classroom.
It’s been found that about 70-80% of college students work while enrolled in classes and 40% of those employed work at least 30 hours a week, according to a report from the College of St. Scholastica.
This means that at the very minimum, employed students are spending 72 hours per week between school and work! This leads to an exhausting and hectic routine.
“Just like medicine, homework can be overprescribed,” says Jacob VanTilburg, a second-year Sinclair student. “Teachers mean well but the solution isn’t always assignments.”
Too much homework doesn’t just take over a student’s schedule but leaves them overwhelmed and discouraged. The human brain is only capable of retaining so much information and our bodies need time to relax as well. Skimming readings to meet deadlines and cramming in assignment after assignment does nothing to help our case. This results in burnout and sometimes even careless work.
Furthermore, too much homework induces an unhealthy lifestyle, both physically and socially. When students are busy running around, they are less inclined to go grocery shopping or cook meals for themselves and opt for fast food because it’s quick and easy. If by some miracle they have the chance to relax, they’re usually beat and are unlikely to spend time outside or exercise.
This unhealthy lifestyle is also present in lack of sleep. Recent survey data shows that most college students only get six hours of sleep a night, which isn’t nearly enough when you’re so active throughout the day.
Additionally, many students grow distant from their friends and romantic partners in college because they simply don’t have time to be with them. Spending time with loved ones is an essential part of personal happiness and when students are deprived of this, depression can skyrocket. This leads to a poor work ethic and an unmotivated attitude.
Though homework is a crucial part of a student’s learning process and is meant to help them grow, too much of it can have the opposite effect. It is important to acknowledge the various effects excessive homework can have on college students and work to find a balance. No good can come from overworking students.