Homework gets us back to work

The Oracle

Written by: Utkash Dubey

As an outspoken conservative that has stressed the importance of presidential policy in the past, I think it’s important to understand that America’s fiscal future isn’t merely a compilation of the commander-in-chief’s political pursuits. Even after the 2012 Presidential elections, I have heard “America is the next Greece” coupled with the sarcastic “too big to fail” so many times that it seems there’s a mentality that economic failure is inevitable. The more important but often overlooked indication of a promising financial future is a strong domestic work ethic across the board. The fact that some American citizens still consider the “9 to 5” workweek a burden worries me, as it jeopardizes our economic prospects as a country. Laziness would be a demeaning quality to attribute to these people, but I think it’s important to stress that the expectation is we’re all making an effort in some way, shape or form to further our individual and therefore national economic circumstances, and that these people are generally not meeting the expectation.

I’m a proponent of homework because it encapsulates the “we’re all working” sentiment with the forced practice some students actually need while we’re still young. The concept of homework also builds around a very social academic environment through collaboration (but not copying!), which I believe is important because it sets the tone for the approach to a healthy working life in the future. For the sake of America’s economic future, the emphasis of a consistent cycle of work that homework provides can successfully get us, as President Obama would say, “back to work” at an earlier age.

I’ll be honest. I hate doing homework. I’d be surprised if anyone really enjoys it. But regardless, homework forces me to spend my time and energy to work on assignments I (more likely than not) deem unhelpful. That is where I think the take-home message really lies—the fact that I’m using my “free” time to get work done for tomorrow (or sometimes yesterday) communicates that this is OK for the future. It sets the psychological precedent that this is indeed the norm for the rest of my life and that I should almost expect to stay up late, constantly working hard during my future jobs.

Issuing homework assignments also effectively serves to foster social interaction within the academic spectrum. When I stumble upon a problem or question I may not be able to answer with confidence, my first reaction (after consulting the books) is to head to those totally tubular Facebook groups and consult my peers online, or to talk to classmates during school itself about my questions. The whole, “How did u do #4?” conversation initiator allows homework to be a basis for social interaction. Ultimately, this leads to hard work, because doing well is something to be proud of and it starts conversations. Why else would they throw those formal physics parties, anyways?

Because our financial future as a nation is on the line, homework instills a mentality that our lives semi-revolve around our work and that being work conscious is an acceptable thing to be. While it may sound sickening, a life around work is what the most successful people in the world abide by, because our work only goes as far as we force it to.