The Science of Play

Having free time can have a positive impact in a student’s lifestyle.

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Valerie Rasmussen

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The Science of Play

Stress is something that nearly every student experiences daily. According to a study done by New York University, half of students report being stressed every day due to homework, grades and other facets of their education.

Sress is on the rise. More people are reporting high levels of stress than in years prior, which could mean that it is still increasing for high schoolers and adults alike. The American Psychological Association’s annual report showed that for the first time in 10 years, there was an increase in the stress level of Americans. They also report that many feel that it is due to the current political climate. The political world is constantly changing as new information comes about, and new developments are made. Due to the instability, this is still a large source of stress for many.

Oftentimes, when students were younger, they had an outlet to enjoy themselves and relax: recess. In high school, students don’t get that same luxury; however, many feel that if they had the freetime, they may be less stressed. The free time that students would have would allow them to unwind and enjoy themselves, even if just for a few minutes.

Psychology teacher Tony Borchert understands that not many students are able to release the stress that is built up within them.

“High school students internalize stress and hope that it either goes away or that they can just forget about it,” Borchert said. “I don’t think a lot of students have stress coping skills.”

These coping mechanisms  are essential for one to have, so that the stress of everyday life does not continue to build up inside of them. If that stress is not released, it will overflow and can have a very negative impact on one’s body.

“Stress, whether it’s a student or an adult, impacts you physically, mentally and emotionally,” Borchert said. “If stress is not dealt with over a period of time, then it can lead to a lot of different medical issues.”

Possible stress related ailments have a large variety in terms of the diagnosis and the impact on one’s body.

In addition, an article written by Jonathan Weiss of Medical Daily reported that stress is also linked to heart disease, depression and obesity. The impact of stress is not only hard to deal with on a short term basis, but it can seriously impact one’s life later on. By having a way to relax and reduce one’s stress for a little while, their life can be positively impacted. It can not only make one feel better in the moment, but it will have a lasting impact on possible medical issues.

However, having free time during the day may help relieve the stress that many students often feel.

Sophomore Jackson Fries starts his day at 5:15 a.m and doesn’t get home until  at least 7 p.m every day. On top of that, he often has homework to complete before the cycle begins all over again. Fries believes that having more free time would be very beneficial to him, as well as for the many other students that have a similar schedule.

“I would mostly try to finish any projects, homework, anything that’s worth something to my education,” Fries said. “It would actually help me get to bed sooner.

Many students stay up late trying to finish their schoolwork, but if they had time during the day to get their work done or relax and relieve some of the pent up energy, it could have a positive impact on their brain as well as their body.

ILC Director Barbara Mason understands the value that free time has on students.

“It gives them a chance to unwind and recharge their batteries, which ultimately helps them focus better in their classes,” Mason said.

One way she encourages this is with the Makerspace lab. The Makerspace is an area where students can go to relax and create something new. Each week, a different activity is in store for those who wish to go. She and other members of the school take their time in selecting activities that they believe the students will truly enjoy.

“These activities were initially created so students and staff would become familiar with the space and the materials that are available to them,” Mason said. “I like to create a wide variety of activities to meet the diverse needs of our student population.”

Stress is often very overwhelming for students, but having free time can have an overall positive impact on students. It can lead one to having a brighter outlook, as well as being able to be more focused during the day.Many students need an outlet to express themselves. They need somewhere that they can be free from worrying about school projects, homework or their grades. Some may find this time in the Makerspace, while others may enjoy spending time on their phones or perhaps by diving into a good book. However one finds the escape they need, one must take the opportunity to relax, even if just for a moment.

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