The End of Term has Become Too Stressful


Marija Babic

Virtual learning continues to take a toll on many students, especially at the end of the term.

In our current learning environment, stress has increased due to more time online and less social interaction. The lack of structure toward the end of the term, moreover, has definitely intensified this feeling, and more ought to be done to alleviate this stress.

One aspect that causes increased stress is that there are no set days for testing. When students were in the school building, there were set days over a period of a week or two in which each subject could have their finals. For example, there would be one day for English and Math finals, another for Classics and Science, and so on. This was helpful for student planning and organization so that the end of the term was not too packed or overly stressful. In addition, this structure encouraged students to focus studying on only one or two specific subjects at a time.

With remote learning, there are no set days for testing. Because class only happens three times a week, the workload is not evenly spread out.

When the anchor day was originally on Mondays, Ms. Sandra Stuppard, an eighth-grade United States History teacher, says, “From a teacher’s perspective, sometimes you’re inclined to do it on Monday because if it’s on different days, that means different versions of the test.”

Since all classes currently meet on Wednesdays, there will be more tests on that day of the week compared to the rest of the week. This can be especially stressful since this anchor day has shorter class periods and a longer day.

There will also often be days with, for example, several tests and an essay due, followed by a day with barely any assignments. This unequal allocation of work can make the already difficult task of keeping up with school, clubs and free time even more complicated, as it is difficult to anticipate the workload for a certain period.

Not only is there the stress of multiple assessments for each class at the end of the term, but students also have to worry about turning in every small assignment they are assigned. Unlike in-person school, where there are often softer deadlines and time to complete homework in class, Mark Snekvik (V) says, “In remote, everything is kind of a submission and something you have to check off. There’s nothing really casual because everything you have to complete.” This results in more focus being put into completing other assignments, rather than studying for big assessments.

In addition, the amount of class time has been drastically reduced this year. This has limited the amount of learning time and the amount of material that teachers have been able to cover. Because of this, homework is even more crucial to the work that is done in class.

Midterms and finals feel so much closer because the limited amount of class time can blur them together, with tests and essays coming one after another. There is less relaxed class time to break up the monotony of the work. In addition, the limited time in class also means a month will feel much shorter, creating a constant cycle of midterms and finals.

Bringing back assigned test days and better communication for large assessments, especially towards the end of the term, will reduce stress and make remote learning, a difficult endeavor for us all, much easier.