By Naomi Wuliger
School is supposed to be about learning, right? And getting the education that will prepare you for life? Lately, however, school feels like a center of stress and anxiety. Whether it’s friend troubles or the pressure to get perfect grades, school is having a drastic effect on students’ wellbeing – one that can result in permanent or long term repercussions for them.
Before we give the stats, we should define what stress is. Stress is anything from a new routine, test anticipation, challenging assignments, social pressures, a busy schedule, arguments with siblings, or even just being tired.
Research shows that while in school, 75% of high school students expressed boredom, anger, sadness, or fear. Additionally, 7/10 teens (ages 13-17) have named anxiety or depression as a major problem among their peers in the community. But what exactly is the root of this stress? The main source of student pressure among teens is to get good grades, with the pressure of maintaining good looks trailing behind it.
Being stressed out in school is not only an unpleasant feeling, but leads to many other negative effects that can impact our health. According to The Jed Foundation, “Research indicates that when we feel overwhelming stress related to school it not only demotivates us to do the work, it reduces our overall academic achievement and can lead to increased dropout rates. Not to mention the negative health implications, including depression, poor sleep, substance abuse, and anxiety.”
Some suggested ways for schools to help students with anxiety and depression include teaching games, mindfulness, and visualization, and promoting a growth mindset. Encouraging students to be smart about social media, getting enough sleep, helping students get services they need, and being a listening ear are also essential. However, are these things really going to take away the anxiety produced from endless tests, quizzes, homework, and other assignments?
As mentioned above, another way that could definitely benefit students in school is receiving more sleep every night. This means going to bed early if you need to wake up early the next day, which isn’t always possible for students who go to sleep very late due to the amount of homework and studying they must accomplish in addition to participating in sports or extracurricular activities. Sleep allows students to help stay focused, improve concentration, and improve academic performance. Children who do not receive enough sleep at night are at a higher risk of many health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, and injuries. Sleep is essential and when students do not get enough of it, it can become very problematic.
All in all, students undergo a lot of stress as a result of school – and this problem does not seem to be going away. Because of stress, students are at a higher risk of experiencing long-term health problems, which is a very big problem that has not appeared to be solved by many schools. This being said, the true question is, how are we going to make it easier for students to function in their everyday lives and perform well in school without the constant feeling of stress inflicted on them?