Mental Stress in High School

By Grace Salcido

High School is a huge factor in your life, it is not surprising that it is

I am currently a senior in high school, to say bluntly, high school has many ups and many
downs. I am sure a majority of students in high school have dealt with challenges, either with
friends, academics, and etc. Not to mention the pandemic that has severely impacted a large
number of Americans across the country. I know from my experience, being stuck at home took
a great turn on my mental health and stress of school.

Remote learning was not easy for me to adapt to, I felt out of place, alone in my studies, I did not
engage as much as I would being in a classroom would. Not being able to see my friends and
people my own age was hard as well, on top of it all. Now that I am back at school since my
sophomore year, it is strange, stress about fitting in or making a good impression has captivated
me this year. I find myself thinking for hours, distinguishing between what college and career I
see myself doing in the future.

According to an NPR article, School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say, the
article voices many teens around the country in school and how school can extremely affect their
mental health. “A survey by the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of all
teens — 45 percent — said they were stressed by school pressures” Parents can also cause
chronic stress on their child, the pressure of pleasing parents with good grades has definitely
taken a toll on my mental health, I believe that parents can help with the distress of their child
by being present, but not overbearing.

75% of high schoolers and 50% of middle schoolers described themselves as “often
or always feeling stressed” by schoolwork. (The Washington Post, 2019). Another statistic says,
“Seven out of ten teens in the U.S. (between 13 and 17 years old) have named anxiety or
depression as a major problem among their peers in the community.”

I interviewed a student that I believed had great insight on how school is going for them. They
are an eighth grader who is going into high school next year. They had much to say about the
situation they are currently in.
Then I asked them, “Do you think school has affected your mental health?”
-“Yes, school can be very tiring and has majorly affected my self-esteem,” they
“Is there anything that could help make school easier?” I asked
-“Teachers giving less work, and having attentive counselors.”
“How has remote learning affected you?” I asked

-“Being less active in my studies, and having less motivation to do any of my
assignments now that I am back at school.” they said.

This student gave their honest opinion on how they felt about school, they expressed that having
school is in fact stressful for them. Going into high school is hard enough on top of that going
into a new school is extremely difficult.
Interview with a former student
What their biggest struggle that they had to overcome during high schoolThey responded with “It is very hard to remember a time, but academics have always
been a struggle for me, I would always strive to be the best at my abilities. Some
years were harder than others.”
The next question I asked was. If they could give advice to a person massively struggling at
school, what would you say?

-They said, “I would say that school is meant to be a place to thrive and if someone
can not find anything better to do than make fun of another person then their
opinion is not worth your while anyway.”
-Do you think pressure to succeed with grades is a common issue with students?
They responded with, “I think high school is a tiny part of your life, many of the things
that seem important now you’ll have in hindsight are not, I think many teachers
put much stress on their students and gave them an unrealistic expectation on how
hard life has to be.”
In all of this darkness there is a light, high school can be uplifting, having many opportunities,
having a chance to the people you connect with, and finding yourself. I believe that school can be
a stressful, chaotic mess, but can also be a joyful place with lots of fun experiences in those
years. Being a student in high school I can vouch that I will look back on those years and smile,
remembering all of the good things that happened at school. I have found amazing friends that I
love deeply. I have laughed, I have cried and made memories.
There are many options in school that could help students in high school, finding just one
teacher that you feel comfortable with is a great start. Having friends that you can talk to, having
a counselor/someone at school that you can go to for help can make high school easier for some.

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