Busy Is an Understatement

Published: September 30, 2014
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I’m 19 and I am a full time student at a community college near my apartment. I also work at Subway full time and take care of my nephew for a separate 40 hours a week. Busy is an understatement, but recently I have been having the hardest time keeping up in my classes. I cannot focus on anything. In lecture I try to listen to the professor, I even take notes, but my mind is never attentive to what is going on. In high school I was a straight A student, I took honor and AP classes, I never had this intense of a problem. I’m considering dropping a few classes just because I can’t seem to pay attention in them. I’m not sure what to do.

Dear Busy Is an Understatement,

There has been a lot of recent studies on the effects of sleep deprivation. Most of them come to the same conclusion; lack of sleep has negative impact on academic performance, concentration levels and ability to maintain attention.


You definitely need to cut back on your activities, because being chronically tired is having a detrimental affect your school performance. Dropping few classes will help, but is that the only area that you can moderate? TeenHealthFX does not know your circumstances and we recognize that working and caring for your nephew are responsibilities that you have little choice in. We just encourage you not to drop school completely. Research shows that a significant number of people who leave school wind up not returning. You still have the ability you had in high school but you can’t get far on an empty tank.


Your family probably realizes how important school is to you. Talk with them and see if there is any way they can be of help. You seem like you give a lot to your family, it seems fair that they should return the favor.


Signed: TeenHealthFX