Three Weeks: Students Manage Exhaustion


Sana Youssef, Staff Writer

Have you ever walked into first period and seen your classmates sleeping? Exertion and exhaustion have both been typical feelings students have at school. When it comes to homework, clubs, sports, and other afterschool activities, physical and mental health is typically the last thing many people worry about. 

Jaxton Ravenel (‘26) wakes up around 5:30 a.m. each morning to be ready for the bus at 6:30 a.m. He usually takes a shower and makes sure all his belongings are ready for the day. The idea of waking up this early is a struggle for many students. Ravenel says, “Just getting up and getting moving, I feel really tired and lousy. If I wake up late, it’s just a whole hassle because I am rushing around.” Every day, Ravenel would wait at the bus stop for about ten minutes whether it was sunny and warm or rainy and cold. Coping throughout the day while being filled with exhaustion is not an easy task; it’s sometimes impossible. He says, “I just chug my coffee and move on with my day. I don’t really have time to just sit around and rest.” 

Naveen Shankar (‘24) shared similar feelings of both exertion and exhaustion. Going to bed at 12 a.m. each night and waking up at 6:15 a.m. each morning is a struggle for Shankar. Attending school, doing homework, and going to work is very strenuous. He says, “It is very hard to balance school especially with all the schoolwork we have.” Simply getting the push to start the day while being physically and mentally drained is one of the hardest things Shankar goes through in the morning. The day starts to get harder as he arrives at his first period class, AP Government. He said, “I don’t really focus. It’s hard to focus. I’m not really paying attention usually, and I daze off because I’m still tired, but I still get the work done. It’s just really hard.” He feels like his teachers don’t take into consideration those lethargic feelings him and his other classmates have. One thing that helps him pull through during the day is drinking coffee. “It’s one of the things I really have to do in the morning,” he says. 

Both Ravenel and Shankar think that school starts too early. Shankar says, “Since we go to school five time a week, we don’t have to be here eight hours each day.” They both believe that a better start time would be around 9 a.m.

AP United States History teacher, Mr. Richardson, believes that student exhaustion is a concept that lesson planning alone won’t solve. He said, “I try to model healthy sleep habits, sharing if I took a nap or got to bed early, and being happy when students share they did the same.” He tries to engage with his students by asking what caused their lack of sleep and see if there are solutions to those feelings. He suggests, “stand up in the back, get a quick drink of water, and refocus.” To keep his class interactive he says, “We start every day with ‘check-ins,’ sharing anything interesting that has happened since we last met.” He tries to include questions and comments from each student to hopefully make them feel valued and a part of the class. 

Mr. Richardson believes that there are various ways people can help themselves feel fresh and awake at the start of the day–one of them being healthy sleep habits. He said,  “I limit my screen time as it’s getting close to bedtime and try to make sure I’ve made a list of what I want to get done so I can use my time wisely instead of having to start lesson planning at 10 p.m.” 

Pulling through during the day and battling urges of sleep and exhaustion weighs many students down and builds unhealthy habits. Not being able to cope or focus has been a normalized feeling especially with all the tasks that need to be checked off from every student’s “to-do list.” Richardson urges students to take a closer look at those habits, saying, “thinking about how our individual lives are shaped by the world around us is a step towards both understanding the world we live in and shaping it to fit with our values and goals.”