BSM’s unhealthy habits

Emily Busch, Meredith Cannon, Dann Fry, and Sean Simonson, Emily Busch, Meredith Cannon, Dann Fry, and Sean Simonson

Too Many Activities
Spending an average of almost 13 hours on activities every week while still maintaining her high GPA, junior Francesca Sifferlin participates in 16 different activities this semester.

On a normal day many students like Sifferlin run from one activity to the next, often times not getting home until after 8:00 pm. When they do get home, they still have all of their homework to finish. Being involved in too many activities is becoming a growing problem for many students.

A large percent of the student population is involved in activites, anything from football to speech or the environmental club. “Ninety percent of the student population is involved in extracurricular activities; it comes down to an average of 2.4 activities per kid,” said principal, Dr. Sue Skinner.

Some teachers think that students put too much time into activities and that can become a problem if it gets in the way of school. “Sometimes kids have too many activities and forget what their priorities should be. In my opinion, school should be a much higher priority than other activities—that’s why they call them extracurricular activities,” said Mrs. Kitty Prentice, a spanish teacher. “Kids forget that doing well in school is their number one job. When kids are under stress, the activities are what should give, not schoolwork.”

Because students are involved in so many activities, they need to learn to prioritize. “I think that kids do find so many great opportunities around them, that they often experience some difficulty in prioritizing,” said Mr. Zach Zeckser. “Some students are overcommited. For a lot of students, there is clearly too much stress in their lives. I think that pressure from peers, coaches, teachers and so on can really pile up.”

Students tend to be in activities just to be able to put them on their college applications not because they enjoy the activity. “Kids also think colleges want them to be involved in all these wonderful activities. Really, colleges are much more interested in you doing well in school and showing passion about 1 or 2 other things, not spreading yourself so thin,” said Mrs. Prentice.

Sifferlin knows what is important to her and she puts that first in her life. “I just do the clubs that I’m passionate about so it’s a lot of fun and not a lot of work. The time commitment isn’t a big deal because I love the things I’m in,” said Sifferlin. (Emily Busch)

Sleep Deprivation
In a Knight Errant survey polling 100 BSM students, 18% described getting less than 4-5 hours of sleep per night. This is well below the amount necessary to maintain good health, which is defined by Mayo Clinic as at least 8 hours, and optimally 9.

Only 20% said they sleep for 8-9 hours or more per night, which means the majority of students–by a huge margin–are sleep deprived. Freshman Kiley Petersen finds herself in this category–she said she gets less than 5 hours of sleep on an average school night, and attributed her usual bedtime of 1-2am to time-consuming activities. “I get home late from dance, and then stay up doing homework.”

Such is the case with many students across all grades at BSM. As one might expect, these habits take a toll on students’ aptitude during the school day. “I never pay attention [in class], because I’m tired,” said freshman Francesca Peck; in fact, according to the same KE survey, only 35% of students said they don’t fall asleep in class at least once on an average day. When asked about how her sleep habits affect schoolwork, though, Peck said she usually doesn’t have problems achieving the results she wants. “I’ll put off, like, half of a worksheet to finish in homeroom… but I always get it done.” (Dann Fry)

AP Overload

Typically, students take AP classes for one of three reasons: because their parents make them, because they want to prepare for college, or because they can use it on their college applications. At BSM, the students have a high work ethic and are encouraged to push themselves to achieve their goals.

While most of the students are hard-working, there are a group of AP students who surpass the expectations set for them. One student, senior David Kohler, who is enrolled in four AP classes including AP European History, AP Government, AP Calculus BC, AP English and physics, takes them mostly for college. “I like history and government and it looks good for college apps,” said Kohler.

Junior Ellie Jaskowiak is also pushing herself, taking four advanced classes including AP Calculus AB, Advanced Chemistry, AP Composition, AP U.S. History as well as an above average language course for a junior, Spanish IV. Jaskowiak doesn’t take these classes to please her parents, but instead because she is self-motivated and hopes to get the best education she can for herself.

For Jaskowiak, the amount of homework isn’t terrible. “It takes about two hours on a bad night, and most of it is APUSH,” said Jaskowiak. For Kohler, homework varies a lot. “One night before I had tests in two classes, I had about four to five hours of homework and study guides to do,” said Kohler.

On top of their busy academic schedules, Kohler is involved in knowledge bowl, Red Knight Volunteer Corps, and NHS, while Jaskowiak is involved in tennis, golf, RKVC, student leadership forum, NHS, Link Crew, and class board. Their lives are overwhelming and busy, but they know the importance of hard work and are willing to do what they can to reach their goals, even if it means getting a few less hours of sleep or missing out on activities. (Meredith Cannon)

Procrastination Sensation
To many students, procrastination is a full-time activity that requires dedication rivaling the dance team’s rigorous practice schedule. At Benilde-St. Margret’s, those who dedicate their lives to this honorable passtime are a part of an elite squad. These are their stories.

Living a life full of naps, junior Grace Helgager has perfected the art of procrastination. “I just tell myself I’ll do it later,” Grace said. When a project is due the following day, later might mean 2 a.m., but normally she just will do homework during class or a free period. Facebook is her distraction of choice. “Farmville is my life,” she said.

Sophmore Kyle Anderson has a sort of procrastination schedule he uses to avoid doing homework. Upon arriving home, he watches TV, usually Friends or King of Queens for a half hour. Then takes a nap for about an hour. Working out at Lifetime fills the following two hours, after which TV and Facebook take up the rest of the night until about 9:30 p.m. The next morning, he wakes up at an astoundingly early 5:57 a.m. and completes the assignments for the day before setting off to school.

Boasting the impressive accomplishment of having stayed up until 4 a.m. and then starting her homework, junior Shreya Mehta is the queen of procrastination. Most days, Shreya will go out with friends after school and get home around 5 p.m. “Then I’ll go on Facebook for hours,” she said. Using the Farmville technique much like Helgager, Shreya also multitasks and uses her phone to put off homework. On top of all of that, food plays a pivotal role in her daily procrastination. “I’m always snacking,” she said. But she does do her homework, often late at night, before school, and between classes. “I always start my homework at twelve [midnight], always,” she said.

Students are not the only ones who procrastinate though, teachers are guilty as well, and no other teacher exemplifies this quality better than Ms. Änna Overbo. Between playing with her cat, Mavis, and crocheting small objects, Ms. Overbo finds time to watch television. “Unfortunately, a large amount of time is [wasted on] television,” Overbo said. Often, reading or napping fill the time she doesn’t spend watching television. But she finds that the worst thing about procrastinating is that she doesn’t even do exciting things, like rock climbing or racing cars. And during her mundane activities, she constantly thinks about all of the things that she needs to get done, even during her favorite show, Ace of Cakes. (Sean Simonson)