Let’s Start School With WildeCat Time Every Day

Students who constantly work throughout the entire school day believe they could benefit from extra time to work.

LifeTouch

Students who constantly work throughout the entire school day believe they could benefit from extra time to work.

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Waking up around 6:15 am is insufferable for most students, including myself. We get to school groggy and irritated, with almost no motivation to even walk in the building. Trudging outside to the bus stop, I’m engulfed in darkness, with only street lights guiding my path. There seems to be no positive outcomes to having school start so early, but that does not mean we should change start times.

According to a countywide poll, 77 percent of students are involved in at least one after-school activity consistently. On average, athletes get home around 4:45 pm on days with practice, and between 9 and 10 pm on game days. Those involved in performing arts or clubs normally get home between 3:30 and 4:30. If school started at 8:30 am, a possible start time argued to the Howard County Board, those involved with sports would get home around 5:45 pm daily, and 10 to 11 on game days. Those involved in performing arts or clubs would get home between 4:30-5:30. Despite the seeming insignificance of this change, many students already struggle to fulfill their daily responsibilities with the current time allotted, and it would be more difficult to manage homework, chores, work, and activities.

Pushing school back would likely not make a positive impact in the long run. A better alternative is to put the time used for WildeCat time as the first half hour of the day everyday. Students could catch up on homework if needed, use it as a study hall, or use it as a buffer for late students so they do not miss class time.  This may seem like a waste of time to teachers, but it would help students wake up more before classes start, function more productively during the day, or at least complete homework on time.

One of the most common arguments for later start times is that it means more sleep. According to The National Sleep Foundation, Melatonin, the chemical in our brain that makes us want to go to sleep, starts producing around 11 p.m. for teenagers. Many teens stay up late to finish homework, which can diminish stamina during the day and lead to important due dates or assignments being forgotten. Sleep is so important to development, but when an hour is tacked onto every school day, the window between school and sleep becomes smaller. Say you’re involved with extracurriculars that, with the pushed back times, end at 5:45. That’s two hours taken away from homework, eating dinner, and other chores that come with being a teenager. That means scholarly responsibilities are pushed back even further, and when 11 p.m. rolls around, your subconscious needs you to fall asleep, but your conscious doesn’t allow it. Doing work while exhausted is a recipe for less retainment of the material and sloppy products.

We all have to sleep, and I’d sleep all day if I could. However, there is a reason that school starts so early. Everyone has things to do after school. If school started later, these activities would need more time that cannot be fit into an inflexible schedule.

As I drive home from rehearsal, I dread having to get my homework done, but I appreciate actually having time to do it. However, what I would appreciate more is having time dedicated to completing it during the school day when I just simply can not at home. WildeCat Time is such an important time for me and my busy schedule, and one that I know I use effectively. I would love more sleep more than anything, but changing start times isn’t the solution to that; time management, less procrastination, and a study hall period is.

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