Free time is viewed in a variety of different ways. Some people view it as a beneficial break from the stress of everyday life, others as a useless distraction.
The majority of high school students have some amount of free time regardless of how they choose to spend that time.
Leisure time gives students an opportunity to relax, and to stop worrying about school or other stressful aspects of their lives.
Some students choose to spend this time reading, watching TV, listening to music, playing video games, or by doing a number of other activities.
The general opinion of these activities is perceived as negative. Some teachers and parents tend to view them as unnecessary, or as time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Sophomore Ryan Callan said, “I try not to spend too much time watching TV or playing games during the week. My parents don’t really like it when I do.”
However, free time may be more necessary to the success of high school students than many people think.
A recent study by the University of Rochester has shown that free time is necessary for high school students not only to sustain their performance in school, but also to maintain their mental health.
Sophomore Brendan Thane said, “I think it is important to spend time on schoolwork and on fun things. You need to hit a good balance where you are being productive, but you aren’t too stressed.”
A paper written at Case Reserve University states that the average high school student has a stress level higher than most mental patients from the fifties.
The paper also states that leisure time is needed to help relieve this stress. A lack of free time can lead to depression, increased amounts of stress, and anxiety attacks in extreme cases.
There is a common belief that free time is nothing but harmful. On the contrary, free time is all but necessary for a student to excel.
Studies show that high school students require at least two hours of uncommitted time in order to maintain a healthy mental state.
While a student who works straight through the day may be able to finish an assignment earlier than one who does not. The student without any free time will be less productive in the long run.
This means that parents who drastically limit the amount of leisure time their children receive may be unintentionally harming their children’s academic performance.
In 2005, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Center discovered that a mind constantly at work for over a day has trouble retaining information and completing complex tasks.
Their research shows that the human brain is simply not built to be at work constantly without rest. Showing that free time is far more vital to a student’s performance in school than once thought.
This leisure time could be spent doing anything, even relatively complex activities, as long as they are not mentally stressful or taxing.
Sophomore Danny Crook said, “I don’t think it would be good for someone to spend all of their time worried about school. I think free time is pretty important as long as you don’t get carried away with it.”
Psychologist Susan K. Perry believes that some of the common activities students fill their free time with yield benefits of their own.
Kerry states that video games, particularly fast paced ones, have been proven to increase hand eye coordination, and listening to to music or watching television can help keep the brain active which benefits both memory and perception.
The relatively negative opinion of free time, held by many parents and teachers, may be one of the most detrimental things currently facing high school students.