The Red and Black Editorial: the stress of high school


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Stress is a big part of my personality. I don’t seem that way on the outside, but I’m a complicated mess internally. Stress has a lot to do with that. It’s like a battle between my logical thinking and my anxiety. Logic may be the hero, but anxiety is just too strong. School doesn’t help much, honestly.

Whether it’s a difficult assignment, an intimidating teacher, or a screw-up in front of a crush, I get stressed out easily. The fact that college is just around the corner is also intense. It’s hard to be optimistic about the future when you know how hard of a battle it will be.

Jefferson City High School is a nice place that motivates you for the future, but it doesn’t do it right at times. As a freshman, I came across a poster depicting an old man working at a fast food restaurant. It was to show what happens if you don’t graduate. Without a proper education, one may spend their life flipping burgers. This absolutely scared the living heck out of me. Even today, not being a successful member of society is one of my greatest fears. Sure, the poster was motivating, but not in the right way. Schools should display the opportunities that come with graduation, instead of what will happen if you don’t graduate.

According to a national survey from USA Today, 27% of teens report that they experience an extreme level of stress during the school year. This compares to only 13% in the summer while school is out of session.

While extreme stress is certainly alarming, any level of stress can affect a person’s well being. High school students are still developing, mentally and physically, and having a higher stress level than ideal will only work to hinder them in their efforts to advance.

We all know someone that seems to do it all, and perhaps they even seem fine while doing it, but stress can manifest in many different ways. A student who gets A’s on all of their tests may be struggling to sleep between studying and worrying. If this stress builds, it’s only logical to assume that eventually either the grades will give, or the student will. Neither of these scenarios are ideal, so what can be done?

The first step that a school could take is ensuring an open door policy with counselors so that teens who need guidance can easily receive it. Another good step would be to make tutoring available for struggling students. Stress is only heightened when someone feels powerless, so helping them have the ability to do their work well will be a motivating factor for their overall well being.

I must say that the stress I feel now is not as big as the stress I had to endure two years ago. If you forgot, or if you weren’t there, the 2015-2016 school year had a different schedule. Summing it up, you had ten classes to worry about instead of the usual five. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this screwed me up. There was a ton of homework, and it wasn’t fun.

When you are stressed out, you’ll have some trouble with keeping up in your classes. It’s a big problem. More work means more stress, more stress means low grades, and low grades mean more stress. Even so, if you have trouble with stress, talk to a parental figure or a teacher. If that teacher blows you off, then tell the principal. That is no way for a teacher to act.

Parents and teachers have the ability to help their students during the stressful school year. From offering to assist with homework to staying after to explain a concept, guardians and educators can play vital roles in a teen’s stress management. Through regular conversation a parent or teacher may be able to empathize with a student more readily than they would if they simply assumed it was “teenage drama.”

In the end, stress is a serious problem. It makes your life miserable, and that’s not good for your academic participation. However, you should know that people are here for you. While school can be a stress-causer, it will all be over with soon.