Madison Fulin- Feature story

Ashlyn Aarness, Photographer

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, more than two-thirds of high school students have a job. In addition, almost 25 percent of students work more than 20 hours a week. It was a Monday night, after work when junior Madison Fulin, finally sat down to do her homework.  She sits in her living room, and pulls out her backpack to see what tonight has in store.  

As she multi tasks on her English paper she said, “Well I definitely don’t have too much time…I could always use more.”

Madison, like most other teenagers, has a lot on her plate.  She’s in school, has a job, participates in after school activities, and has a social life.  A busy week working 2-3 times, and around 2 hours of homework a night.  By the time Sunday rolls around, her only free day, she is to exhausted to do anything with her friends.   

Homework Load

Like before, Madison estimates that she has about 2-3 hours of homework a night.  This includes projects, readings, and different assignments.  She added, “On the weekends it’s more, like four hours a day.”  

U.S. News surveyed 1000 teachers and found that they estimate about 3.5 hours of homework week.  But for high schoolers that take up to 6 classes that’s 21 hours of homework each week.  Compared to the same survey taken back in 1994, we have about 6 times as many hours of work.

Ashley Norris, assistant dean at the University’s college of Education said, “What has changed is not necessarily the magic number of how many hours they’re doing per night, but it’s the quality of the homework.”  

Work night Test morning

As she sits with her review packet on her lap and laughs hysterically Fulin explained, “If I have to work the night before a test, the odds are I won’t do well on the test the next day.  I’ll probably fail it.”  

When she gets home from work about 9:00 p.m. she still has to eat super, do some housework, and get ready for bed.  By the time she starts homework, it’s already 10:30.  At this point she has to choose between getting good grades or getting sleep.  Most of the time she is forced to choose homework because she’ll get to behind.  

According the the National Sleep Foundation, “Sleep is vital to your well-being, as important as the air you breath, the water you drink, and the food you eat.”  

On average teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep a night.  And it is shown that their sleep patterns are very irregular, staying up late and waking up early.  Madison says she averages 7-8 hours a night.

Making Time

Madison spends 30 hours a week at school, 15 or more at work, 1-2 hours after school for clubs, and about 3 hours a night.  This sounds crazy.  Why does she do it?  

Fulin explained, “I choose to get a job because my dad didn’t want me to keep taking his money and start making my own.  I took harder classes because it looks good for colleges and I want to get into a good college.”  

She said she doesn’t get mad when she has to work or has a lot of homework, but she’d rather be hanging out with friends or watching T.V..  As she shrugged, she elaborated, “Sometimes I just ditch my homework and hang with friends because that’s more fun.”

We know that growing up isn’t easy.  There is a lot to handle and sometimes it may feel like to much.  That is why it important to have strong friendships throughout high school.  The closer connections you discover are nice to have when you are going through hard times, or even having study sessions.  

Sarah Lockwood writer of The Importance of Friendships in High School and College says, “There is so much change in high school.  Many things are happening in teenagers’ bodies and brains.”  

That’s why it’s important to take time away from school and work and go strengthen your friendships.  Make new friends and have them help you along the way.

Time is everything, and everything is what Madison does.  Being busy may be stressful at the time, but in the long run will help.  

Fulin explained, “I guess I’m fine with where I’m at, but I could also use more…working is making me more responsible, and the classes are making me smarter.”