Photograph: Wavebreak Media ltd
As the winter season approaches, the notorious mid year lull begins to take a toll on the students of Liberty High School. With bustling schedules on repeat, some students are becoming uninspired – and losing their motivation to learn.
For many, routine may be viewed as a structure of which to maintain sanity, but for others, it is quite the opposite. Paris Del Riesgo ´20 feels that the issue lies in repetition.
“I kind of feel like when you do the same thing over and over everyday it gets really boring and you feel like you just want a break,” Del Riesgo said. “But you get really tired and bored, and you start to feel like it’s never-ending and that it’s never going to change.”
Del Riesgo isn’t alone, either. Students throughout the school have all felt the adverse effects of their monotonous routines and are beginning to share her views. Fellow junior, Maya Seri, elaborated on her similar perspective.
“It gets boring doing the same thing over and over again and I need change. I need a break,” Seri says. “I need time to think and time to be myself. I can’t do anything if there’s all these obstacles in the way.”
Mental health has been a relevant topic this year, especially within the walls of Liberty. More and more students have been sharing their struggles in regards to stress and mental well-being. The root of their struggles seems to lie in the lack of spontaneity in daily routines. The repetitive cycle of school, extracurriculars and home life is affecting the students in more ways than one. Del Riesgo, and many others, feel trapped by this unfortunate reality.
“It makes me not want to go to school and it makes me stressed out that we’re just going to do the same thing today that stressed me out yesterday,” she said.
In addition to the student’s mental health being negatively influenced by monotony of routine, teachers are also being affected. Derek Burtch, an English teacher here at Liberty, expressed his occasional dissatisfaction with simply showing up to work.
“I’m a morning person in the sense that I like to wake up with light, but I think it affects me adversely especially during the winter. I have always had Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I also have a kind of ongoing depression. The amount of time that you wake up as a teacher, and then drive to school when it’s dark – it’s just not a fun way to start the day,” says Burtch.
While the morning darkness may be temporary, routine remains a consistency throughout the year. The ongoing cycle is mentally draining not only with students, but also teachers and administration.
“It definitely affects my teaching because I have less energy to really put into what I want to into student writing and into giving authentic feedback,” Burtch says. “It requires a lot of mental energy to try and interact with that and if you’re just exhausted from the day or from a string of weeks.”
Many students feel that their teachers make little to no effort to make class interesting and fun. Like many others, Del Riesgo has had her fair share of uninterested teachers.
“I think some (teachers make an effort to make learning fun) do… but some teachers just don’t care.”
Although this belief may hold true with some teachers, there are still the select few who fight to improve the students and faculties lives. Burtch explains how he’s taken part in that movement.
“Yes, it affects my mental health,and that is part of the reason why I was very disheartened when we had the option [for a later start time of school], it was voted on, and it was voted down to start the day later.” Burtch said.
Because of the discontinued suggestion of a delayed start time, students yearn for even the smallest changes in their daily life. For students and teachers alike, the repetitive schedule of their everyday lives continue to take a mental and physical toll.