According to NPR, this is the percentage of teenagers who say they struggle with stress from school pressures. Although stress is a normal reaction, especially for adolescents, school can bring about an overwhelming amount of it.
Stress is the leading cause of anxiety, and if there is a buildup of it, there can be serious mental health consequences. Because teenage brains are still developing, along with hormonal changes, they are more prone to mental illness. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 20 percent of teenagers live with some sort of mental condition.
When you think of the “average teenager,” there is a misconception that they all are careless or irresponsible. Many tend to think that all teens care about is hanging out with friends, or going to football games and parties, but for most adolescents, this isn’t the case.
I go to Evanston Township High School, along with around 3,500 other students. I am lucky to go there because it provides students with many resources and opportunities to succeed in the field of their interest. For my future, I know this experience will help me.
Even with all these positive resources, there is still a major downfall. As soon as you walk through the doors on your first day of freshman year, post-secondary planning is shoved down your throat whether it be by pressuring students to take advanced or honors courses, or participating in as many extracurriculars as possible.
The Stress Is Real
My average day is filled with nonstop activity. As soon as I get home from school, I either rush off to soccer practice, or get ready for work at my hostessing job at a restaurant. If I am not working or practicing soccer, I am either at the gym training for my upcoming high school season, or attending a meeting for one of the school clubs I participate in. Many days, I don’t get home till later, and don’t start homework until [9:00] or 10:00 p.m.. When I have big essays or tests coming up, I can sometimes spend up to four or five hours on homework.
I’m not the only one who is struggling with stress. During lunch or free periods at school, there is a sea of students cramming to finish their homework, or studying for the big test next period. Many of my soccer teammates have to skip practice to complete a big project. At work, some of my high school coworkers sneak in the back to do homework, because their shift ends at 11:00 p.m.
Not every student deals with pressure the same way. In some cases, there is more severity to the issue. Kids who are supporting their families have minimal time to worry about school and homework. And students who struggle with learning disabilities, such as Dyslexia or ADHD, can have a harder time concentrating and managing school work.
Stress is a part of daily life and something people have to learn to deal with, not just in high school. During adolescence, it is an important time to learn how to manage it, so later in life it won’t cause more problems.
Schools need to make more of an effort to help students deal with all of their commitments and schoolwork. Whether this be by giving class time to show students some techniques for time management, or offering more free periods. Overall, school should be more of a stress-free environment, and a place where students feel they can get the help they need. Even if we don’t realize it, teens need people we can count on to support us, when we can’t manage it all by ourselves.