Stress. A word teens know all too well. Whether it be due to school work, homework or extracurriculars, every high schooler experiences stress during their academic career.
According to the University of Phoenix College of Education, high school students, on average, are assigned about 3.5 hours of homework a night. If someone takes AP courses, this typically adds more time to their workload. Adding on extracurriculars or jobs leaves little time for anything else.
Work is not the only cause of stress, though. Students often feel pressured to do their best in school because they have been told it dictates their entire futures.
“We are held to this standard that if you don’t do well in high school, you won’t get into a good college and most likely won’t get a good job,” Skylar White (11) said.
Beliefs like this cause students to prioritize school over everything else in their lives, often leading them to give up certain things.
“I feel like I have to sacrifice sleeping time or time I could be spending working or going to family events,” Briahna Macklin (11) said.
Making sacrifices like these can be detrimental to a student’s health. Health studies show that there is a health pyramid that must be maintained to truly stay healthy including physical, mental and social health; stress can certainly take a toll on this.
Studies show that only about 15 percent of students get the recommended eight and a half hours of sleep. Physically, missing out on sleep can cause fatigue, weight gain and heart disease. Mentally, sleep deprivation can cause anger, anxiety and depression.
There are things that can be done, though, to lessen the stress put on students by the school system. Many students believe that an automatic study hall built into each schedule would be beneficial to everyone. This would allow students to have time to complete homework or other assignments during the day, so they have more free time at home.
“[Study hall] gives me a period to organize and regroup before my afternoon classes,” White said.
Another solution would be longer lunches. Students often have very little time to eat after standing in the lunch line for food. Proper nutrition is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping one’s health pyramid in check. Lunch also offers the opportunity to socialize, which is important for one’s emotional health.
The school system is not the only thing that can help reduce stress, though. Students can make efforts in prioritizing items and events on their schedules. It is necessary to find a balance between what is most important and what one can live without.
“…I’m learning that now I need to balance myself because I’ve never had to do it at this level before,” White said.