PRESENT AND VOTING

Academic Pressures: Are We Being Assigned Too Much Homework?

We, as students, have been getting our education under extraordinary circumstances for over a year now because of the pandemic. When we say it is a different experience from what we are used to, and it is hard to adapt to what is necessary when it comes to online school, it can be applicable to students of all ages, from kindergarten to university. Everyone knows we should keep on studying, as we still do not know how long this pandemic will last, and we cannot press pause on life altogether. However, this does not mean that this progress is easy to adapt to. It is time we finally talk about not all, but some of our teachers’ and professors’ lack of empathy at this time, which comes with mental and psychological difficulties on the students’ side.

Especially in terms of universities, every department differs in how they are academically overloaded. Still, the main common thing in all of them, regardless of the content of their classes, is the fact that they are, in fact, overloaded. Some students are required to do assignments, some to write papers or forums and do readings, some to do group projects or presentations, and the list goes on. We have way too many responsibilities, which puts us under extreme pressure at a time when life is already harder than normal. After all, the reason we must study online is that there is a pandemic, and students and their families are not excused from this virus. On top of health-related issues and anxieties, having the pressure to meet deadlines constantly is mentally exhausting. That is not to say that we should go on our lives without working for anything, but at this point, most students cannot imagine a day when they are away from their desks or computers.

Regardless of the class, one of the main problems is probably the professors assigning various things and expect us to do them as if theirs are the only class we are taking. The contents of some classes are heavier than others, and they need reviewing as well as reading additional sources. Doing that for each class every single week is certainly not easy when professors act like we do not have anything else to study for. Giving out some assignments early and adding a note that says “Do this while you are free this weekend!” is probably good-hearted. However, one cannot help but think to themselves, “What makes you think I am free this weekend?” It is understandable that they are trying to prepare us for life after graduation, but this method of assigning so many things at once becomes counter-intuitive. Professors might think they are doing us a favor, but all these homework and assignments leave no time to learn anything effectively.

Such academic overload inevitably leads to a lack of motivation, which ends in worse academic performance. While a student may be interested in the content of a class and eager to learn more about it, the fear of not meeting the deadlines results in that student memorizing the material haphazardly and having to throw it away the moment it loses its service. Before online school and the ridiculous overload of responsibilities, we would take classes that we were interested in, so we were willing to do the extra work and did not mind the overload as much. Now we just sit in our room and look at a screen, and the time left from that is spent on countless unfruitful assignments. While we try to keep up with everything, we get close to no efficiency because we have no time for it. We complete assignments and write papers just for the sake of being done with them, so we can cross them out on our to-do lists and move on to the next one. Our aim is no longer to learn from them, so we memorize what is useful for that specific piece of work and do not pay much attention to the actual learning process. 

What makes the academic overload extra hard in the online period is because it has no social reward now. When we physically went to school, we could go out for a cup of coffee or a meal with our friends after classes. Now, we go through all these without seeing or talking to anyone, not even leaving the room, in front of the same screen, all by ourselves. Professors saying that we are home anyway, so we do not have anything better to do than studying, does not help. We are students; of course, we need to study to complete our education. However, assigning papers and readings or scheduling quizzes and exams even during the breaks or the weekends just because we cannot go out anyway because of the pandemic is never a good teaching method. Sometimes all we need for efficiency and better academic performance is just some time to sit back and catch our breath. Most students hang on to the dream of having a couple of days just for themselves where they can rest. The notion that they must spend every waking moment studying since they are home is extremely dangerous for their mental health. For better academic performance, students need a break. When we turn even our computers off every now and then for them to cool off, imagine what would happen if we kept the brain running constantly. For online education to be truly effective, give students a break every now and then, and the result will be crystal clear.

by Elif NAZLICAN

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