Editorials and Opinions

PRO: Opposing Views – Is it okay to cut corners in schoolwork?

By Marcus Schneider
Published: March 2009

A necessary evil

“Due to the rigor of our honors and AP classes it is unusual for even very talented students to carry more than two or three honors/AP classes. This line from my school profile shocked me as I read it one day during a class that went a little slower than usual.

This is just false. I know more people than I can count who take four APs’€ even a handful who take five. Some have an easier time while others barely sleep, but it is still accomplished.

The fact is, two AP classes no longer put you at the top of the class, but in the middle of the pack. Academic inflation is occurring in SAT scores as well. Scores are getting better, so more people take courses and buy books to score higher. Whether we like it or not, the standard of excellence for schoolwork just keeps rising.

Then add the fact that most kids have more than just schoolwork on their to-do lists. Whether it is because of the plethora of clubs, varsity teams, or theatre productions, many get home no earlier than six in the evening to start their homework.

Furthermore, each teacher believes that a certain amount of work must be done outside of class in order to succeed. Most assign at least a half hour to an hour of homework per night. Well, I’m sorry to say, there just isn’t enough time. Somewhere we have to cut corners.

I doubt any adult with a job has enough time to finish everything they need to do, along with eating, sleeping, and maintaining decent hygiene.

Throughout life, we constantly struggle against time, so why not start preparing? We can learn to prioritize.

If there’s math homework that might be checked, history reading that might be quizzed, and an English paper due, then the paper is clearly the first priority, and the math homework should be finished if time permits.

But sometimes prioritizing can backfire, which is why many papers are written immediately before they are due and why five chapters of biology notes are compiled in two nights. A different corner needs to be cut.

Why do all five chapters, when you can team up with a buddy and only do half? Not only does this allow time to do other more pressing assignments, it teaches the valuable lesson of teamwork.

Let’s say you are one of those kids who stay up until all hours of the night doing all their homework. How are you going to feel the next day during your test? Fresh, alert, and ready to succeed? No.

But if you were to cut a few corners the night before, get to sleep at a reasonable hour, and you could do much better. Homework is meant to help us understand, not hurt us.

We need more depth in our lives than just school and sleep. Happiness goes a long way, and if a little less homework means more time for friends and activities and things you enjoy, go for it.

I bet your grades wouldn’t suffer and every college would prefer a more rounded student. There might as well be some fun in life, or else, what’s the point of all that work?

As pressure rises, we should take a step back from it all. Take that nap every once in a while. Spend some quality time online. Don’t cheat on tests, of course, but “cheating on homework every once in a while is not such a bad thing.

Schoolwork is meant to help, and if it doesn’t, then find something that does. Besides, all we really want is to get the best grades to get into
the best colleges, right?

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