Homework: The First Domino


The following is a definition essay I wrote for my AP English class on the topic of homework. It is not intended to be taken seriously, and I purposely wrote it in a way to have a comedic and humorous feeling. Enjoy.

Homework is among the most dreaded daily rituals that students perform. Thought to be created from maniacal evil teachers bent on giving pointless hours of punishment mostly comprised of sheets of paper being inscribed with graphite from a wooden stick, many students find homework to be mentally, and sometimes physically, draining. Millions of pupils every day suffer from this form of torture; I, myself, have experienced the painful activity called “homework”. To define the word “homework”, one must experience the event first hand, but to make it easier to comprehend, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “homework” as “an assignment given to a student to be completed outside the regular class period.” Homework, although its intent is to allow students to adjust to newly acquired knowledge, to many students, it acts as a terrifying bane to their existence.

The phrase “work first, then play” describes the relationship between indulgence and “homework”. Play is the act of indulging in a video game, while homework is the chore of writing an essay about the experience of playing the video game. Play is going to Great America to ride roller coasters for the thrill, while homework is being confused by the physics behind it when there is a test the following day that determines if one is to pass or fail. While play brings joy and happiness, homework brings sadness, stress, and dry red eyes usually accompanied by swollen, dark, puffy bags underneath.

This sadistic cycle of work and play causes the life of a student to be a life without much meaning. The daily routine of eagerly trying to finish homework to watch a TV show or to play a video game, makes a student’s life become repetitive and redundant; a life much similar to one of a monkey’s, although monkeys only play and eat constantly- no homework. Homework causes massive amounts of stress and worry in students and strikes questions fueled by fear into the minds of students, such as “Is this going to be on the test?” or “What if all my answers are all wrong?” This stress often manifests into bad test scores, arguments with parents, or even more stress due to a sudden onset of panic from the sight of one’s report card.

Being a student myself, I have first-hand experience of the positive and negative results of homework. One characteristic of homework I have observed is how overdoses of the substance always cause negative effects to one’s health, such as sleep deprivation, loss in short-term memory, temporary loss in long-term memory, decreased brain activity, and drowsiness. However, these symptoms only show if one procrastinates long enough until he has to panic in desperation to finish off the behemoth that grew with time. For example a friend of mine had procrastinated to midnight before beginning his homework, only to find that the work assigned was extremely difficult and required extreme focus to finish in a reasonable amount of time. However, the time being early in the morning of “tomorrow,” his working speed was extremely slower than if he had done it in the afternoon. Although he managed to finish in time, he only earned an hour of sleep before a test in A.P. U.S. History in first period, which he then proceeded to fail due to his lack of sleep.

In the final outcome, even after all the homework piled onto a proud high school graduate has long since been recycled or disposed of, buried deep down in those papers was their original purpose to help students, to serve as a tool to help students practice and master their newly-honed skills or knowledge. That is what most teachers hope the work they assign succeed in doing; however, for some unfortunate students, homework can serve as the first domino to be knocked down in a long chain of reactions, demolishing other grades such as tests and participation. Still, for many students, homework remains to be one of the most incapacitating aspects of school, a part of life that can easily make or break them in their quest for knowledge.