The summer before my junior year of high school was stressful. My friends were taking summer classes, programs, or internships during break, and I was doing none of those. Evidently, I felt as though I was wasting my summer by not doing anything academic. This led me to frantically search for summer programs, internships, and places that needed volunteers. On top of the summer homework assigned, I felt compelled to do more to get ahead like my friends.
Summer break is supposed to be a time where students get to take a break from school. Yet many, along with myself, are panicking rather than enjoying their two months away from school due to academic pressure placed upon by the school, parents, and even ourselves to be ahead for college.
According to a 2017 survey published by the American Psychological Association, on average, teenagers reported their stress level to be 5.8 on a 10-point scale, compared to 5.1 for adults. The most common sources of stress were school (83 percent), and getting into a good college or deciding what to pursue after high school (69 percent). However, a little stress is normal and may even be beneficial to ensure students stay focused to increase performance on, for instance, a test. But to many students and parents now, academic pressure has grown to be a real issue.
I believe academic pressure has seriously taken a toll on students’ well being. Along with the typical workload from school, many students feel compelled to do more outside of school because of how competitive getting into a good college has become. School should be a place where we learn, not be the primary source for stress.
To alleviate stress, there are four solutions I found in an article online, NEA Today, and the CVHS Wellness Center. One solution is raising awareness of the academic pressure crisis. Doing this would provide a good start to let the school know the true weight of stress on students.
Another solution is meditation. Meditating has scientifically been shown to reduce stress, along with many other health benefits, such as anxiety control and enhancing self-awareness. Meditating also has been linked to a higher performance in academics.
The third method is to ban homework over holiday breaks. Since banning summer homework is not a possibility because that would lead to more work once school starts, banning it over holiday breaks such as winter and Thanksgiving is a good alternative.
The final method is not to forget to take time when possible to enjoy yourself, because most stress is self-imposed.