Reevaluating Physical and Mental Health Days

I vividly remember my heart racing as I scrolled through my Haiku pages during study hall.

I vividly remember my heart racing as I scrolled through my Haiku pages during study hall. As a II Former at Lawrenceville, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the huge amount of homework assigned. Every student had all class periods on Monday—without a doubt the busiest day of the week in terms of academics—and usually major assignments were due then. The stress from the workload on Mondays may sometimes seem unmanageable.

To counter the stress and allow students to take a break, this past Monday has been designated as a Physical and Mental Health Day. As a result, no athletics were held. Nonetheless, one should realize that having designated days of rest is not truly productive. Only when these days are turned into no homework Mondays instead of no athletics Mondays can one genuinely manage time and stress and ultimately result in the betterment of one’s physical and mental health.

First and foremost, skipping athletics is not advantageous to students’ health, which therefore goes against the aim of PQL Physical and Mental Health Day. Athletics are known and proven by research to be crucial to people’s physical health, but many may have overlooked the mental health benefits that sports participation brings. Although competitive, sports can foster great relationships between students. Many, including me, have met new friends through athletics. Moreover, athletics can also bring growth in qualities such as perseverance and collaboration (for team sports). These qualities are all vital for our mental health. As one can see, athletics can boost both the physical and mental health of students. Having no sports on PQL Physical and Mental Health Day totally defeats its purpose. Furthermore, no homework Monday can lead to better time management, lower stress levels of students, and improve their mental health. As mentioned above, all students have every single class period on Mondays, which creates a tremendous workload. No homework Monday equates to more time for students to participate in clubs and extracurricular activities, or even just socializing or relaxing. These activities are all contributors to a healthy heart and state of mind. It is evident why there should be no homework on PQL Physical and Mental Health Day.

Despite the fact that no homework Mondays are more effective than no athletics in improving students’ physical and mental health, some may disagree and present seemingly coherent arguments, which will be debunked in the following. Some may argue that no athletics can, just like no homework, provide free time for students. However, as no athletics means there is still homework on Monday, students will have to use the free time to do work, instead of actually taking a break when there is no homework. Additionally, students will also lose the opportunity of athletics, which, as I have explicated above, further accentuating the stress from schoolwork. Some may also say that “no homework” is impractical in execution as it hinders the progress of classes if students do not complete their homework (homework will then become classwork). Nevertheless, teachers can redistribute the homework on Monday to other days so it does not affect the learning progress of students. Another argument some may come up with is that there is already a “no homework weekend” system in place. Nonetheless, “no homework weekend” applies to only two subject areas every week, which does not significantly reduce the workload. One should also keep in mind that there is homework due Tuesday. After analyzing all these arguments, one can conclude that “no homework Monday” is necessary and better than other alternatives.

In a nutshell, PQL Physical and Mental Health Day should be No Homework Mondays instead of having no athletics. In addition to “no homework,” the School can also utilize other ways to promote physical and mental health, such as inviting experts in mental health to Lawrenceville to give talks to the student body. Student-run clubs can also collaborate to hold events and workshops to increase the awareness of “mindfulness,” the buzz word in the field of mental health. With these measures in place, I am sure students can more easily benefit from future PQL Physical and Mental Health Days.

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