DOES IT BOTHER YOU? Life doesn’t stop at midnight, neither should our deadlines
November 4, 2022
We all have those nights. The exhausting, eyes half-opened evenings where you are fighting to stay awake. The afternoons are marathons to say the least, with sports practice after school, heading straight to work and finally arriving home to a pitch-black sky. The 6:30 wakeup from that morning hits you like a freight train as you stumble over to your Chromebook to finish your work, only to be attacked by the three dreaded words you hate to see marking your Google Classroom feed: “Due 11:59 p.m.”
Being a high school student is overwhelming. Like most people, I have had my fair share of chaotic days and sleepless nights, and have accepted the fact that my schedule is simply meant to be this busy. I understand that during the school week, balancing fulfilling academic responsibilities and participating in a wide array of extracurricular activities comes with the price of the occasional embodiment of sleep deprivation. What I never came to comprehend, however, was why we are confined to an 11:59 p.m. deadline.
Looking back on the last three years of high school, I have come to realize that my best work has been done when I have had an ample amount of time to complete it. On the rare occasion that a teacher granted me the gift of an in-class due date, I have taken a sigh of relief, and those peaceful 20 minutes after the clock struck midnight to efficiently complete my work.
This vicious cycle is an unfortunate reality, but there is a simple fix that can ease students’ anxiety and add much-needed hours of rest to our hectic night: make the assignment due at the start of class. Give students the option to complete assignments more efficiently early in the morning or during a study period when students are not scrambling to squeeze hours of work into a tight window. Sometimes, all our brains need is an overnight charge to refuel us for the following day. I have found far greater value in getting up early to finish an assignment with a fresh mind instead of aimlessly typing nonsense after a 14-hour day of school and extracurriculars and praying that it’s proper English.
This daunting villain disguised as a reasonable due date adds excess stress to the already hectic lives of students. We are told to complete our work efficiently and to the best of our abilities, but that is utterly impossible when we are trapped in this unnecessarily small window of time.
The small shift from “due tonight” to “due tomorrow” truly goes a long way. Once teachers see how the quality of our work can improve from this adjustment, they will hopefully notice the true power that an in-class due date can hold.