A message to high-achieving students

Jeremy Stroming

Full disclaimer: I too am a high achieving student. However, I still have a problem with the philosophy of some of my classmates. Some of my closest friends seem to believe in a do-it-perfectly-or-bust mantra in regard to homework and other assignments. This means a no-limits approach towards getting all of their work done. There is a time however, when something trumps homework, and that thing is sleep. Often I hear people complain about how they were up until the early hours of the morning completely everything to perfection. Homework has a time and a purpose, but this stretches that purpose too far. When a spotless lab report becomes more important than healthy bodily functions, the line has been crossed. Go to bed. Get work done in the morning or at lunch (or both).

Just like every motivated high school student, I have a crazy and unmanageable schedule. Every day, after getting home around 7:00 and then eating dinner, I have little motivation or energy to get my work done. Often I choose to get one or two things done, and then I go to sleep, simple as that. Sometimes that involves taking some reading or work into to bed. If it’s something simple, I don’t worry about perfection, but rather try and absorb the most I can and know that class review will cover the rest.

What I have left the next morning, I complete during my free time at lunch or in other classes. Sometimes friends are annoyed I have work to do rather than socialize, but that’s what it takes to balance loaded academic and athletic requirements. This level of schedule management isn’t necessarily permanent, but it could be what it takes to get things done. When someone stays up most of the night fretting, the stress is damaging in the present, and the exhaustion—both mental and physical—is damaging the next morning.

I admit I’ve stayed up very late cranking out essays too. Sometimes I am the most focused when facing a deadline. This type of behavior is fine in moderation. When this becomes common behavior,