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Stressed Out Kids by Sophie Corbett

May 07, 2018 11:58AM ● By Elena Hutslar

If you walk onto any high school campus and describe how the students are feeling, the general consensus could be summed up in one word: stressed. Being a high schooler is a full-time job. We go to school for eight hours, spend our afternoons participating in sports, clubs, or other extracurricular activities, and stay up late trying to finish our homework, only to repeat this cycle again the next day. As a high school junior, this is the world I live in. 

Students have so much going on all the time. One student at my high school said, “The stress that students experience is unbelievable. It is a regular occurrence for a student to have anywhere from three to five tests on Fridays, and that’s just for schoolwork. There is another layer of being a perfect college applicant - having high test scores, good grades, and a variety of extra-curriculars - and that only increases student stress levels. As students, our load is heavy but somehow we manage.”

 

A lot of high school stress can be attributed to an epidemic that is quickly spreading among students: overachiever culture. As college acceptance rates become slimmer, students become more competitive. Straight As are not outstanding anymore; for the most selective colleges they are the bare minimum. Many students feel that in order to be a stand out college applicant they need to be the president of three clubs, take several AP (Advanced Placement) and honors classes, be the captain of a varsity sports team, have volunteer hours, feed the starving children in Africa, and solve global warming. Most students simply want to be admitted into a top tier college so they can be successful in their chosen career choice, make a comfortable living, and live happily ever after. Of course, ultimately all degrees are valuable, but when students have ingrained into their minds that the choice of college is critical, it is hard to let go of that mindset. 

On top of all this, academics are not the only stressor in a teen’s life. There’s so much pressure to fit in, have the perfect friend group, have a perfect body, have a perfect Instagram feed, and the list goes on and on. 

Obviously, I’m not a parent nor do I know anything about parenting. What I do know is that I have two parents who are completely understanding of the stress that I endure. Teenagers have so much on their plates. There is already so much pressure to please our teachers, friends, and coaches. A lot of my peers struggle to live up to their parents’ expectations, and that just adds to the ever-growing list. I know parents just want the best for their kids, but I think the best thing a parent can do to help their child navigate the stressful high school years is to just be understanding and supportive rather than pressuring their child to be a perfect student all the time. This can go a long way in easing some of the stress that high school students experience.

 

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