Stress is an emotion that hits close to home. Everyone knows what it feels like to have a deadline that might not be met or a pile of papers that need to get done to be able to start the next pile. I feel this pressure, this anxiety, almost every day at school and every time my mom asks me if I have enough on my resume to get into college.
More pressure is being put on students to succeed and do great. We need to get a good job and to do that we need to get into a good college. But to get into a good college we need to get everything right before we even reach the age of 18. For my resume to be even moderately acceptable for the Ivy League colleges that everyone wants to get into, I have to excel at everything. I have to play an instrument, a sport, be in as many clubs as possible and get straight As.
All of these responsibilities are not healthy to maintain all at once. This year, I took a school orchestrated college tour trip and missed two days of school. In those two days, I had to make up a three-page essay, two math XL assignments, an outline for AP World History, and two additional tests. I missed two days of school and I wasn’t even in my junior year of high school yet.
I’m sick and no one can make me stay away from this marsh of misery that I call school. If I miss a day, I won’t understand what is going on in Chemistry, where the teacher goes faster than their definition of the speed of light when it comes to explaining topics like quantum theory. I joke about wanting to fall into a coma, but the much needed break would only make things worse.
If it weren’t bad enough to get pressure from teachers and parents, pressure also comes from other students. There is a constant state of competition that surrounds grades. Taking four AP classes to boost your GPA so you can get in the top five percent of your class, constantly wanting to get the highest grade, knowing that an Ajust isn’t good enough, takes what is supposed to be a learning environment and turns it into a place where children are pitted against each other, teaching us that the only way we are important is if we have the highest grade in the class.
According to a survey put out by USA Today, 34 percent of students experience extreme stress throughout the year, 36 percent have anxiety when it comes to even thinking about school and 86 percent report that their stress is increasing as each year passes. More than a third of teenagers report fatigue and lack of sleep, and a quarter report skipping meals from stress. The average student is not in a healthy learning environment and this stress put on them at an early age is destructive.
No one should be pushed and pressured so much that their once abounding love for learning turns into a fear of failure.
Valentina Saavedra is an eleventh grade student at Westminster Christian School. She is the is editor in chief of the Literary Magazine and president of the book club.