Separation between school, life proves essential; teachers, parents must understand


Photo by Zoe Alpert '25

On breaks and weekends, students are often overwhelmed by stress due to the rigorous academic expectations in Westport, which prompts students to constantly focus on school.

Similar to many Staples students, I enjoy days off of school. Getting a breath of fresh air, the feeling of freedom and the pure joys that come from the spontaneity of personal time are all appealing to me. While I do genuinely appreciate the knowledge and friends school has given me, I just look forward to a carefree weekend, one that allows me to relax without homework. Weekends and vacations don’t result in a well deserved break, but rather a culture that forces students to constantly be working.

When Thanksgiving rolled around, I looked forward to many family traditions: smelling my grandmother’s sweet cooking and decorating my home for the holiday season. As per a long-established school policy, school work is exempt from breaks. However, considering the rigorous demands of high school, work manages to sneak its way in nevertheless.

Weekends and vacations don’t result in a well deserved break, but rather a culture that forces students to constantly be working.

— Caitlin Jacob ’24 said

I voluntarily filled my schedule with honors and AP level classes resulting in an abundance of work. I’m just a victim of Westport’s academic expectations: parents bombarding my  homework progress by  checking Schoology, which results in an addition of stress.

Teachers might not explicitly assign work during the time of a break, but my schedule for the week following is inevitably an overcrowding of tests, quizzes and other large assignments. So, you can bet that my third day back from ‘vacation’ is packed with tests in every class. Ironically, the only way to survive that compilement of tests would be to use time over break to study.

According to a study conducted by NYU, nearly half of high school students have experienced burnout, primarily from homework, grades and the strenuous college search. With 26% of students mentioning depression as a side effect of the absurd demands of studying.

During this upcoming winter break, I hope to spend more time present and reflective, taking a ‘true break’. Being a junior is stressful, and the only way to mitigate that pressure is to take those demands of school off myself. I won’t let the stigma of laziness get to me as I, along with every high school student, deserves time for personal enjoyment.