Health and Grades: Know the Real Cost of that A


Photo by: Zoe Garden

Grades can send some students into a state of nervous anxiety.

Colin Gill, Staff Writer

Some people would give anything to do better in school. And some people do.  They sacrifice their free time, their social lives, and even their own well-being so they can make good grades.

When it comes time to take a test, many students often sacrifice their health for their grade. Almost everyone has been guilty of this to some degree- they neglect their studying until the eleventh hour and then try and make up for it all at once the night before. Perhaps it is time to stop cramming for tests and start thinking about what these actions actually do to both grades and health.

Teachers repeat study tips constantly, but do Highlanders listen to their most important pieces of advice? Students spend anxious lunch periods scanning quizlet on their phones and reviewing with their friends. There is another key to scholastic success that is often overlooked in favor of the easy cramming strategy, if it can be called a strategy. In addition to quizzing and reviewing, perfect scores are obtained by staying rested and fed throughout the class.

Studying late seems like the only option the day before the test, but what really comes of the action? Without rest, it is impossible to retain or recall information. Emergency studying is best done during the allotted lunch period, if possible, as long as it does not interfere with lunch itself. No food, however, has the same effect as no sleep.

Studying is not about rote memory drills, but rather finding and closing the gaps in your knowledge. When a student is well-rested and well-fed, the brain can better recall the class material. Losing sleep in order to study will only make it harder to answer the questions correctly. The best approach to studying is staying rested and energetic and spreading out study sessions in order to avoid frantic scrambling the night or hour before an exam. In addition to sufficient sleep, improving overall fitness also boosts GPA. Bodily wellness and mental wellness are closely related, after all. If getting A’s is standing in the way of getting healthy, consider a change in priorities.

Although better health translates to better grades, should that be the only reason to take care of yourself? There are plenty of other reasons to stay healthy and happy unrelated to a report card.

Health habits typically begin in adolescence. The best time to start thinking about leading a healthy lifestyle is before it becomes a problem later in life. While it might be tempting to pick up bad habits while the body is best equipped to handle them, the best strategy is to preserve that youthful vitality rather than use it up early. There is a reason pediatric medicine is its own field of study. The quality of care in one’s early years is critical to lifelong wellness, after all. So, deciding to keep up good health now could grant health benefits years down the line, more so than what grades would give.

While it is easy to merely talk about managing health, actually doing it provides its own tribulations. There is no greater challenge to health and wellness than the silent killer: stress. Stress is a complex problem. Everyday tasks, mundane obligations, and even simple, unavoidable activities all generate stress in daily life. Thinking about stress generates more of it, and trying to get rid of it often results in, again, more stress.

In fact, the mere act of balancing health, grades, and stress can create a world of stress on its own. What is the best way to deal with this most deadly of diseases? Health experts agree that organizational skills and self control annihilate anxiety and tension. So, the path to managing stress usually involves some additional stress at first. This must be done in order to take control of one’s life, grades, and health.

Of course, that does not mean that stress must always be overwhelming. Avoiding stress just creates more, so it is better to release the day’s stress by doing enjoyable activities. Playing sports, talking with friends, and creating works of art are all great methods of decompressing from stress, though methods vary from person to person. In addition, being well-rested and well-prepared for school will help to create the feeling of control that one needs to truly conquer stress and anxiety. Stress can only prevent a person from leading a happy life as long as it controls their life.

It is no easy task to reconcile your report card, your clear mind, and your healthy body- but it is possible with some knowledge of how to maintain all three without neglecting one. In fact, in unison, they help maintain each other to a high degree. So, while grades are important, maybe it is time to take a step back. Managing life is no simple task, but it is a task that is well worth the effort.