School and Sickness


photo by Maddie Kantz

Maddie Kantz and Megan Wilson

Stress: we all suffer because of it. From school to work to everything in between, high school students are too often victims affected by stress in some way.

Stress and sleep are parts of an endless cycle that constantly revolve around one another. With tons of schoolwork to complete with what feels like not enough time to successfully pull it off, many students come to school running on far less than the recommended minimum of eight hours of sleep. A lack of the adequate hours needed and immense amounts of stress placed on students leaves them run down, often with the common cold.

Despite only being in school for about three months, the cold and other common illnesses have already crept into the halls and classes of NASH. Typically, the cold starts to travel among peers when the weather starts to get colder, but many students are already sick despite the relatively warmer weather. It always seems as if at least one person in every class is battling a cold that inevitably will spread to others.

Not only do people sacrifice their own well-being when they come to school sick, but they also increase the risk of spreading illness to other students when they opt out of staying home to rest. With a school of over 1,000 kids, it is inevitable that students come to school sick, even though they would love to take a rest day away from school. Unfortunately, all of the stress from school work provides students with two options.

Students can take a much-needed day at home to rest while simultaneously becoming stressed about missing school and work; or, students can come to school sick — making them even more rundown than before– but avoid the added stress that comes from skipping a day. One of the main problems — if not the main problem — holding students back from missing school to rest is the immense amount of makeup work that follows an absence. Dreading that feeling often leads students to feel as if their only option is to sacrifice their health.

Missing even one day of school can push students far enough behind that they find it a major struggle to catch up on work for some time.

Depending on how many days missed, a student will get the same amount of days to make up their work. Even with that help, though, students are turning in assignments even after this deadline. With sports, work, and homework, students have very little free time, making test and quiz make-ups nearly impossible. Students are forced to wait until they have time to make it up, but, in the process, run the risk of getting a zero on the assignment if they wait too long.  

During the first days of school, teachers usually begin with the same thing class after class — that they cannot emphasize enough the importance of checking Blackboard after absences. However, it is frustrating to find that many teachers often fail to adequately update the site with the proper resources, even when they expect the homework to be done upon return even if students are not present in class to learn the material.

Unfortunately, there is no cure to this cold epidemic — it will exist as long as students are at school. Stress will continue to pressure teenagers, and the common cold will continue to be a nuisance.  However, taking care of oneself and partaking in stress relieving activities like yoga or meditation can make all the difference and — hopefully — break the cycle.