Is School Stressing You Out?

It is often said, by adults, that their teenage years were of the most stressful times of their life, and it is rarely recognized [1]. That goes to show how stress is often suffered in silence. Stress is a bodily or mental tension towards any positive, but mainly negative, situation or experience that may result in many different possibilities from depression to substance abuse [1]. Overall, for a number of reasons, school could potentially prevent you of having a balanced life.

stressed-student
Stressed Student [10]
People assume that only students recognized the stress and many people think that its the student being soft but there are many other people, other than students, who share the same point of view of the stress brought by school.

The co-author of The Case Against Homework, Sarah Bennett, interviewed Paul Richards, a high school principal from Needham, Massachusetts. [2]

Is stress really a problem for high school students?

“The effects are individualized. For some kids, it can be academic stress–too many AP classes, too much homework, too much competition. For others, it can be the over scheduling afterschool–homework competing with piano lessons or sports or community service. For some kids, it’s social stress.”

-Paul Richards

There are many factors that bring stress to students, some which are obvious and some which are discreet.

Before we get deeper into the topic, try this quiz to see if you are stressed or not.

ACADEMICS

pie chart stress
Pie Chart of School Stress [3]
The biggest and most well known factor is academics.[3] 32% of students that were interviewed said that schoolwork issues, which includes juggling deadlines, getting good grades, meeting the expectations of both your parents and your teachers, and passing standardized tests, stressed them out the most.[3] While teachers keep piling work on top of work, it can get really overwhelming. With all the stress brought on by the loads of work, it can easily cause a student to drastically change their work habits.

SOCIAL LIFE

The next factor, which is 30%[3], is the social aspect of school. This includes, friends, relationships, relationship with the teachers, and life at home. As we begin high school, we want to feel belonged or recognized. Popularity is in correlation of how fun you are. The cooler you are, most likely, the more popular you are. Students succumb to the peer pressure that will make you “cool” which could bruise the relationships you have with other friends, teachers, or even parents. Not only do we make new friends, but we seek romantic relationships. Without having any experience in romance beforehand, relationships in school tend to be brittle, due to the fact that balancing work and having time with your significant other, along with other aspects, it often leaves students feel blamed-which leads to stress.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Even though there are many positive aspects to being involved in an extracurricular activity, there is a stress aspect that comes with it. A study has found that children who take part in more than 17 hours of extracurricular activities a week could be harming their educational prospects [ 4].By having so much going on, they will have trouble keeping up with everything.

At 0:52 of the video, it states, “Many said that they do activities and sport not for fun, but because it looks better on their student resumes.”

This means that they are involved in activities to make up for theirs marks. If the students aren’t able to keep up with the activites, it will only lead to more stress.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

(Read from left to right) Claire Dunphy From Modern Family Giving Teacher Homework Rant
(Read from left to right)
Claire Dunphy From Modern Family Giving Teacher Homework Rant [5]
A couple nights ago, I was watching Modern Family and I came across this scene ( see above) . This really got me thinking. At Macnab, school is from 8:25-2:30 – which is about 6 hours of school. Most of us are involved in some sort of extra curricular activity, such as soccer or basketball, as encouraged by the school. Usually, a practice or game would take about 2 hours to complete, which ends usually about 5:30. On some nights, basketball games don’t start until later. As humans, we must eat, shower, interact with people in order to survive and stay sane. [6] Lets say that takes 2 hours at least. That takes us to 7:30. With 4 classes, we spend an hour at least working on homework or studying. By the time we are finished our school work, we end up  at 11:30. For some students, they work at a part time job for 4 or 5 hours or they play a rep sport or have an outside class for 2-3 hours. In order to have a healthy body and mind, it‘s recommended that you get 9 hours of sleep  [7]. If we add up everything, it would take a minimum of  23 hours, which leaves us an hour to be ourselves and indulge in our hobbies. It is cited by many people  that our teenage years should be the easiest, yet from my experience it has not been so far.

SO WHATS THE BIG DEAL?

There are many terrible side effects of stress that affect your mental and your physical state. Here are the most common effects of stress. [8]

Common effects of stress …

… On your body … On your mood … On your behavior
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression
  • Overeating or under-eating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal

In the worst case scenario, depression could lead to suicidal tendencies.In Newton there have been three suicides in less than four months among the high school kids.[9]

WAYS YOU CAN DEAL WITH STRESS

To summarize the video, you can relieve stress both indoors and outdoors by following these tips.

  1. Stay in and recuperate
    1. Do repetitive daily chores such as dish cleaning
    2. Good hygiene
    3. Progressive muscle relaxation
  2. Go outside
    1. Excercise
    2. See a friend
    3. Stimulate your senses

CONCLUSION

Many students are suffering in silence from all the stress brought by school whether it be from homework, to a team sport, or even not being able to keep a relationship. It is a more complicated issue than it sounds. I believe that it is necessary for the schools  to take the time to  recognize the stress they bring and should deal with it in anyway for the students sake.

What are some ways you deal with stress?

Do you think that all this stress is the schools fault? or the students fault?

And for my curiosity, heres a poll that I created:


[1] http://www.ehow.com/about_5121991_school-cause-stress-teens.html

Withers, James. ‘Does School Cause Stress In Teens? | Ehow’. eHow. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[2] http://stophomework.com/interview-with-needham-ma-high-school-principal-who-has-taken-numerous-steps-to-reduce-stress/1316

Stophomework.com,. ‘Stop Homework » Interview With Needham, MA, High School Principal, Who Has Taken Numerous Steps To Reduce Stress’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[3] http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/school_stress.html

Kidshealth.org,. ‘What Stresses You Out About School?’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[4] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370429/Study-finds-extracurricular-activities-lead-exam-stress.html

Mail Online,. ‘Too Many Extra Curricular Activities Can HARM Children’s Prospects’. N.p., 2011. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[5] http://rebloggy.com/post/funny-modern-family-school-high-school-funny-pics-stress-homework-so-relatable/73584583156

Rebloggy.com,. ‘SOMEONE FINALLY SAID IT’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_human_needs

Tay, Louis, and Ed Diener. ‘Needs And Subjective Well-Being Around The World.’. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101.2 (2011): 354-365. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[7] http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/sleep-in-adolescents

Nationwidechildrens.org,. ‘Sleep In Adolescents :: Nationwide Children’s Hospital’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[8] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

Mayoclinic.org,. ‘Stress Symptoms: Effects On Your Body And Behavior – Mayo Clinic’. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[9] http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2014/02/newton-suicide-stress

Kids?, Newton. ‘Newton Suicides: Is High-Achiever School Culture Breaking Our Kids?’. commonhealth. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

[10] http://calibermag.org/articles/in-hindsight-thankful-for-a-break/stressed-student/

Kids?, Newton. ‘Newton Suicides: Is High-Achiever School Culture Breaking Our Kids?’.commonhealth. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

20 thoughts on “Is School Stressing You Out?

  1. Good job Adam! School stress is a great topic to write about and everyone can definitely relate to it. Some ways I deal with stress is hanging out with friends and also staying organized and making sure I am not falling behind in school, making myself even more stressed. I think at some points, the stress is the schools fault, for example when the semester is ending, I find most teachers pile on work to try and get everything finished. Along with studying for exams and getting culminatings finished, it can be very stressful. This is the schools fault but in other cases, it would be the students fault. For example, if a student is procrastinating, it would be their fault.

  2. Great topic! I started getting stressed out when I got to high school. The homework, projects, and exams are a lot for me to deal with. I think high schools shouldn’t give out homework because, on top of projects, tests, and exams, that’s a lot of stuff for a student to deal with. So it is partially the school’s fault for causing stress amongst teenagers. When I get stressed, I usually play video games or watch a movie to get my mind off of whatever it is that’s stressing me out.

  3. Fantastic and relevant article Adam! There were a good amount of pictures, videos and resources. The way I deal with stress is to not take everything so seriously. When I realize that it’s not a huge deal if I don’t get perfect on every single test and assignment, I feel better and I usually end up doing just as good. Sometimes, I’ll just take a break on homework, go outside, and read a book for an hour or two before returning to work.
    I think school isn’t completely responsible for the stress students receive. There’s lots of competition for attending University and receiving scholarships, and to live a successful life, University is almost mandatory. But at the same time, post-secondary education costs a lot of money, which means most high school students need to find a job, and having a job at the same time as school, homework and family time results in stress. There’s not much students can do to increase their amount of free time, but students can just do everything with a positive and calm attitude, doing homework outside, as well as other methods that you mentioned in your blog post.
    My question to is, what would you do if you were the leader of our school board and had a lot of influence to reduce and/or prevent stress in high school students?

    1. Thanks Alex. In response to your question, I would tweak some of the curriculum around so that the learning goals aren’t as hard. Also in grade 7, we had a teacher who was cool enough to have throw a little party at the end of a long literacy unit. He also let us have a ‘video game day’ where we did nothing but play video games for the whole entire day, whether it be playing GTA V on the ps3 or playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES. I think that is something you would enjoy a lot.

  4. Hey, this is a really great article! Personally, I experience grinding my teeth when I am stressed. Are there any specific things that you catch yourself doing when you are stressed?

  5. Great post Adam! This topic is very easy to relate to. Reading through this post, I found myself agreeing with the majority of the things that you have said. I like how you added the poll at the end! Now to answer some of your questions:

    What are some ways you deal with stress?

    Some ways I deal with stress is I participate in extracurricular activities. These activities such as track and field, and badminton help relieve stress. Furthermore, I enjoy spending time with family and taking breaks from school work. I dedicate time for school and a social life. Therefore, prioritizing allows me to balance these two. Finally, I enjoy going outside and getting fresh air to clear my mind, it works great!

    Do you think that all this stress is the schools fault? or the students fault?

    You can’t blame the students for the amount of work that they receive. The school may be prestigious and have programs such as IB/AP that push the students to achieve a greater level of success. It is ultimately up to the students to find that perfect balance. Simply put, if you can’t handle the amount of work you’re given then maybe you should consider switching from an academic class to an applied for example. School is often times difficult, but working hard allows you to become successful in life.

  6. Great topic and very well written post. I was surprised to find out that I am very stressed as the survey showed me.
    “Your score is 33 out of 48, which suggests that you experience too much stress and anxiety in your life.
    You may find it hard to relax, which can make you irritable and emotional. Feeling this way causes you to be tense and makes it hard to be flexible when meeting daily challenges. There are certain situations that can cause you to feel very anxious. When you are anxious you may notice physical symptoms—heavy breathing, a pounding heart, or sweatiness in your palms.”
    Thank you so much for all the surveys and the how to relief your stress ways. Clearly you put a lot of effort and time into your post. I will be referring back to your post for ways to relief stress.
    I think that the stress is the school’s fault, since the teachers assign lots of homework and assignments leaving us, really, no time to play or do whatever we want.

  7. Good article Adam. you have a solid hook in your intro, and the post flows well. And the topic is great, i think we’ve all had school related stress and its really interesting to learn about.

    Do you think that all this stress is the schools fault? or the students fault?

    While I think that there are some things students can do to reduce stress, such as better time management, or seeking teacher help when they fall behind, overall stress in school is inevitable. You can’t say its the students fault if EVERY student has experienced stress in school. I think that it is valuable for students to learn stress coping techniques to deal with stress, but experiencing stress is pert of being a student.

    Do you think schools can d more to reduce stress? what kind of things could they do?

    1. Thanks Elliot. That’s true, I agree students should take the time to learn stress coping techniques. I think that schools could do more to reduces stress. Schools could have a program where they involve cute animals to play with, or maybe a video game lounge.

    2. Nice comment Elliot and Adam if your reading nice post. I would say its the students fault because of time management. If we as students founded a better way to manage our time we wouldn’t be as stressed over an assignment or try to rush that assignment and receive a bad grade. Furthermore, I agree with you when you say its not solely the students fault because you can get multiple assignments from all of your classes which would increase your work and stress you out greatly

      1. Thank you for your comment, yes I do think that its partially our fault but also the teachers since they should help the student manage the time. Have you ever experience any stress from school? What were the reasons?

  8. Hey,adam I would like to start of saying that your blog post is on a great topic,one that everybody will have a connection with and most likely to understand especially me.I like how you included a survey and a pie chart ,it shows the different opinions and shows a visual of what you’re talking about,great strategy! I like the fact that you also explained a way to help yourself from not being stressed out,and commons effects of of being stressed out, what you have are the basics which is great info.My question to you is ,is it possible for stress to actually be beneficial?

    1. Thank you. To answer your question, yes, some forms of stress can be beneficial. By that I mean like stress in sports for example, where the stress is making you more agitated and gives you more adrenaline. Stress could also save your life in a flight or fight situation. In conclusion, stress can be good in small dosages but too much stress can be harmful.

  9. Great topic Adam! You have chosen a topic that everyone can definitely relate to. We must remember; not only does school stress students out, but teachers as well. After all, they are required to create lesson plans for each of their classes, mark assignments and tests. Teachers at MacNab are given 75 minutes, a single prep period each day to complete these tasks for each of their three classes.I feel that they simply are not given enough time to do so.

    Personally, when stressed, I try to distract myself by either going shopping or hanging out with friends. Walking or running outdoors helps as well. I feel that both, schools and students are responsible for the amount of stress. By the end of the semester, teachers rush to finish units, they assign multiple last-minute assignments, culminating activities and reviews all at once. They do not keep in mind that students have three other classes, with about the same amount of work. At the same, students that procrastinate further intensify stress levels.

    1. I completely agree, both are at fault. Do you think that its a teachers job to help out a student if they are falling behind? Or should the student own up and work harder?

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