The Overwhelming Pressures of High School

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Kate O'Reilly, Staff Writer

Nobody can truly understand stress, frustration, and confusion quite like high schoolers can because they go through it almost every day. Growing up, high school sounded amazing. The big kids in school we all looked up to them when we were young and longed to be them. Now we would do anything to be those kids again and snap out of the desire to be where we are now. 

Tests to study for and good grades to achieve can be unbearable at times. Knowing that our grades count and that colleges we have been wanting to go to for years will see. Our whole future is riding on what we do now. Sometimes there is peer pressure to get good grades.  Your friends do well in school so it feels like you have to do just as good as them or better. Then for some, there is the pressure from parents if you don’t get a certain grade on something there is a punishment. Most of all there is the desire to be great to be smart and to be the best at something. These are common to want but can put even more pressure on ourselves.

Everyone has different life situations and struggles to overcome. School is not the only thing happening in students’ lives. They have other priorities as well: family, sports, many even

have jobs. There are times when life gets so hectic after school but even though the school day is over students constantly worry about it. “Did I finish my homework for today?” or “Do I have a test tomorrow?”. After 6 hours of school, students end the day wanting to go home rest, go to practice, or do any other extracurricular activities. Instead, many end the day with hours of more homework – sometimes having to miss practice or stay up late at night. School is already very long on block day students sit in a class for two hours and are expected to pay attention, sit still, and understand what’s being taught. The same students who do that are the students who also stay up all night having to do homework and wake up early just to do it all again. Having little sleep makes school even more stressful and frustrating. 

Students lack motivation and when they do have that drive it burns out very quickly by becoming overwhelmed or sick of doing the same hard thing over and over again. Mr. Estrada a counselor at Santiago High School was asked about what he thinks is the biggest struggle high schoolers face.  He said, “Finding, intrinsic motivation to achieve their goals during such a difficult time.” Intrinsic means natural, and students have a hard time finding natural motivation is what Mr. Esdrada is saying. In school, we want to achieve all that we can.  We work at the same thing over and over and want to get the A. If you’re feeling tired all the time, you’ve lost your energy for socializing, and the idea of taking a snooze sounds more compelling than the stuff you’re usually interested in, then you’ve probably pushed yourself too long and hard and you may be burned out. 

Mr. Estrada also explained that the struggle of no motivation affects how “Students may not complete assignments or attend class regularly if they do not have intrinsic motivation. As a result, this damages their grades and limits their opportunities after high school.” What we do now affects what happens to us later in life whether that be college decisions, jobs, relationships, or even sports. Our decisions matter and we know that it creates anxiety and distress to know that a little decision can change the course of our lives.

Now I don’t mean to stress you out even more or create added tension, but it’s important to know that everyone goes through this it may be little comfort but I find that it helps when you aren’t alone in how you feel and what you are going through. In the article “How High School Students can Feel less Stressed” many important points are given to help reduce stress as much as possible. There is no way to completely avoid all stresses and pressure but there are always ways to make it better and less crippling. One of the best points made is to build your self-esteem. Wanting to be accepted and included is always a concern and desire but having confidence in yourself attracts others as well as sets you up for success in all that you do. A confident and humble person is someone who is as prepared for future events as one can be. 

School and life, in general, are not easy, and more should be done to help students as much as possible. Even though these hard times can feel impossible you are not alone in these feelings and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It may feel like an eternity but high school is a short time. It’s important to still be a teenager and have fun while also working hard and achieving set goals. Stress is normal and even healthy but it’s key to understand who you are, what you are working for, and how to get past truly difficult times.