From Binge Watching to Binge Writing

With the advent of Netflix, social media, and other ubiquitous smartphone apps such as Niantic’s Pokemon Go, a large number of students spent much of their summer watching back to back episodes of television shows and YouTube videos.

It was the last day of school, and as HBA students turned in their final exams, the last bell of the school year sounded.

As they leapt out of their seats to begin their summer, many had plans for a full and eventful vacation. However, with the advent of Netflix, social media, and other ubiquitous smartphone apps such as Niantic’s Pokemon Go, a large number of students spent much of their summer watching back to back episodes of television shows and YouTube videos.

Junior Bryce Sakata spent much of his summer watching Fox Network’s hit TV show Glee, and is “currently still binge watching because there are so many seasons.” Sakata, whose favorite snack while watching is popcorn, added that “it was pretty enjoyable, not having to worry about what [he] had to do the next day.”

Sophomore Sydney Nucum, who binge watched USA Network’s Psych, and Royal Pains, as well as Freeform’s (previously ABC Family) The Fosters, had a similar experience over the summer.  “[I felt] great; I was not tired at all, [and]I didn’t have to stay up later than I actually had to,” Sydney remarked.

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And though teachers often warn against procrastination, many students waited until the last moment to complete their summer homework.

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For almost every HBA student however, the summer was not merely a time to rest and relax. In fact, it doubled as a time of preparation for the next school year. And though teachers warn against procrastination, many students waited until the last moment to complete their summer homework. Senior Alexa Yoo, who binge-played Pokemon Go over the summer, had homework from three classes to finish and barely finished on time. “So we had AP Bio notes, chapters 1-3… I maybe did like chapter one in the first week of summer and I was really motivated… and then it was the last day before school started and I was still doing chapter two.”

Sakata, who was assigned summer work from three AP classes and attended SAT prep over the summer, had the same dilemma with his summer homework. “I started my homework, then did a little bit, then started my homework, then binge watched again,” he said.  “[It was] kind of a cycle: I started my AP English essays three days before school started, and then my AP History essay I started the night before [the first day of school] and finished right before [classes] started.”

Teachers and staff also admit to binge watching over the summers past. Kim Yamauchi, high school counseling secretary, who watched NBC’s comedy The Office and ABC’s Lost and Grey’s Anatomy, said that “it was a great stress reliever.” She joked, “I sit at home and I watch and I watch and I watch, [and] everybody has to fend for themselves for meals.”

High school social studies teacher Robert Weismantel, who spent last summer watching CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, had some advice on how to effectively balance binge watching with other responsibilities. “[Binge watch] more towards the beginning of the summer,” Weismantel advised, ”and at any time you finish an accomplishment. Do that in the beginning part [of summer] so you can leave more of the other part, like doing work, to the end.” Weismantel also suggested that students change their physical location when they are about to start their work to help them “change [their] mode into study mode.”

Although it’s too late to change for this summer, Sakata resolved to “not be stupid now” and improve next summer. “I will have my time management down next year,” Sakata said, “and I won’t let binge watching hurt me in a bad way.”

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