Apathetic Epidemic


Photo by creozavr

Lurking in the back of every classroom, headphones blasting music that even the teacher across the room can hear, pencil lost on the floor as sleep pulls them away, are the students who have stopped caring. Students who would rather Snapchat in class than listen to the teacher read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. To be fair, I would too, but I manage to keep my phone addiction at bay during school hours. High school students across the nation are suffering from an epidemic: apathy.

Student apathy occurs when the student believes that their educational success lies completely with the teacher, or has given up on school entirely. He or she believes that if the education is not exciting or pertinent to their exact interests, it’s not worth paying attention.

We get it: high school is hard. Students have gone through twelve years of waking up at a dastardly time, sitting still for up to eight hours, and being talked to, rather than talked with. Towards year eleven and twelve, we become tired of following the exact same routine day after day. If everything becomes the same drone, focusing and truly caring are less and less important.

Students are struggling to see the applications of what we learn; if it doesn’t seem to matter directly to our lives, we don’t care. “It is hard to implement “No Child Left Behind” when children are choosing to stay behind,” says Scott Kielkucki of Minneapolis StarTribune.

Deep down, students know that they’re not putting in the effort they need to succeed. The thing is, our psychology is beginning to depend on enticing rewards to function in a positive manner, as Science News reports. School, especially, has highly delayed rewarding systems, where benefits come years after graduation. Our phones offer instantaneous “reward”, through texts and apps. As teens tend to care more about the reward than the process, we subconsciously decide that the phone notifications are more important than a ten-point assignment.

The process of changing our psychology can be a momentous effort; it’s something that many students either don’t know how to do, or they don’t have the energy to put into true change. So until then, we remain on our phones, wondering why we’re still in school, learning the Pythagorean Theorem for the third time.