Pondering in Highschool: Why does School Start So Early?

Pondering in Highschool: Why does School Start So Early?

Angelina Nunez

After the school board decided to change the start time of our school from 7:35 to 7:15 I have had a deep feeling of resentment. I do not consider myself a morning person; however, I wouldn’t say that my issue with mornings is the only thing wrong with this equation.  

Many of my friends wake up around 5:00am and get on the bus from 6:10-6:30am. Ideally, teenagers are meant to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night which means in order to do that students must go to sleep by 7:00-9:00pm. Is that realistic?  

As a student with a job, on top of normal stress, it is very difficult to have such a packed daily schedule without burning out. This is how my days usually go. I get off the bus at 3:15. I then rush home to get ready for work which starts at 4:00. My workdays last until 8:00 so I come back home around 8:15. I eat dinner and do my chores until around 9:00, then I do my homework. Since I’m in AP classes, I have a good amount of work to get done on top of my regular classes’ homework, so I finish around 10:30-11:00. I then shower and wash up until 11:30 and go to sleep by 12:00.  Since I wake up at 5:00am to catch the bus at 6:20am I get around 5 hours of sleep a night.  

In the mornings, I often end up sleeping in some of my classes. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I can’t help myself from sleeping since I am just that exhausted. Even with just one more hour of sleep I believe students would benefit a lot. 

For a different perspective let’s give a scenario of a student athlete’s daily schedule. This hypothetical student’s name is Ben. School ends at 2:15 so Ben will get home around 2:45. Ben is a student athlete and practice starts at 4:30. Ben starts his homework and works until 3:50 when he starts getting ready for practice. Practice ends at 7:00, so Ben gets home at 7:30. He finishes dinner at 8:00 but he also must do chores. He finishes his chores at 8:30 and goes to take a shower. He finishes washing up around 9:00. Before he can go to bed, he must finish the rest of the homework he couldn’t get done before practice. He finishes his homework at 10:30 but he also must study for his math exam the next day. He studies until 11:00 then goes to bed. Leaving him to wake up the next day at 5:00am to repeat the process.  

Ben only gets around 6 hours of sleep a night which I expect is not so fun for someone with such a busy schedule. It’s very hard to have such a packed schedule every day without burnout on top of normal school stress.  

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics it is recommended that school start at 8:30am or later. It is often pushed onto students to prioritize their health and wellbeing, but our school system is preventing this wellbeing. Not getting enough sleep is often linked with severe health risks. If this is such a deeply researched topic, I wonder why our school would push back an already too early start time to an even earlier one.