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What Exacerbates High School Stress? 5 Things Parents Need to Know

It’s no secret that today’s teenagers are under a lot of stress. More APs, great grades, terrific scores, and more extracurriculars are the drum beat of high school these days. Here are the five things teenagers think grown ups need to consider about education stress on students.

Stress In High School Students: What Teens Want You To Know

1. Everything counts, so do everything “right.”

You need to do everything “right” in order to do anything later in life. Adults often insist that in order to succeed you must make the “right” decisions in high school. You need to have excellent grades and do all the right activities. Only this will lead to admission to the right college and the right career. The atmosphere in school, especially with the countless standardized tests, is: “If you don’t do well on this set of tests you are doomed for the rest of your life”. The constant pressure to never make a mistake is very hard—and very stressful.

2. Also, be “the best.”

All the accomplished siblings, classmates, the notable alumni, it’s a lot to live up to. Colleges and employers state proudly that ‘only the best’ are admitted. This adds a lot of student stress. We are teenagers. We do not have an exact idea what we want to do with our lives, but striving to be the best at everything appears to be the only option.

3. We worry about disappointing you.

We want to be kids that make our parents proud. Being interested in something our parents dislike can result in contemplation about whether pursuing the activity is worth upsetting our parents. The fear of disappointing our parents may not always be obvious but it is present.

4. We need more sleep (seriously).

We often hear at school that in order to get into a good college, and  subsequently get a decent job, we have to take challenging classes and get excellent grades. This is a lot of effort and takes a lot of time. In addition, we have to participate in sports, clubs, volunteer, etc. The activities may be enjoyable but, there are only 24 hours in the day. Then there is family and traces of a social life. To attend to all these things, something has to give. This is mostly sleep. We value and enjoy sleep, contrary to numerous films depicting teens sneaking out every night. Not sleeping results in all our other activities demanding even more effort and time. Why are we expected to be so busy? Why does high school stress seem to be the only path to success?

5. We don’t have enough (any) “me” time.

“High school is the best time of your life. You have so much time to explore your interests.” Free time to explore develop and explore interests besides the organized activities is a nice idea. Unfortunately, it is completely unrealistic, as previously stated. Every class and every activity demands 150 percent effort. Everyone wants all of your time and attention despite knowing that we are expected to do so many things in so little time. It would be great to have time to pursue personal interests and actually have a chance to find out what we are passionate about, before taking on college and a career. Why is it is better to box every minute of our lives into a crazy schedule?

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