The Struggle of Students


Every day around the country, students struggle to maintain a good GPA. Colleges expect students to have all A’s along with an impressive résumé that includes leadership positions, responsibility, and a dedication to school outside of the mandatory hours. It is hard enough to get good grades without participating in any activities after school, but due to the added stress of work, sports, clubs, tutoring for the ACT/SAT, along with many other extracurriculars, many students find keeping up with schoolwork nearly impossible.

In a study conducted by New York University (NYU) that focused on 128 juniors in a private school, statistics showed that 48 percent of students spent three or more hours doing homework each night. In addition, 49 percent of students reported feeling a significant amount of stress on a daily basis and 31 percent reported feeling some amount of stress. Furthermore, 26 percent said that they felt symptoms of depression at a clinically significant level. NYU also stated that, “There is growing awareness that many subgroups of youth experience high levels of chronic stress, to the extent that it impedes their abilities to succeed academically, compromises their mental health functioning, and fosters risky behavior.” In a different study conducted by USA Today, 27 percent of teenage students in public schools said that they experience “extreme stress” during the school year, versus 13 percent in the summer. 34 percent expect stress to increase in the coming year.

Katie Labe, a junior at West Bloomfield High School, follows the apparent trend of stress associated with school. When asked about anxiety and stress in school, she replied, “I am stressed out all the time. The schoolwork and speeches I have to do in school give me anxiety. Being so tired only makes me more stressed. And because I’m sleeping less it’s hard on my grades and it’s harder to take tests when I’m tired. I fall asleep while doing reading for school.” Doctors agree that teenagers need nine hours and fifteen minutes of sleep per night, but the majority average only seven hours, and 25 percent get six hours or less. Everybody knows that being tired makes people grumpy, but ongoing sleep deprivation can lead to increased stress, decreased performance and alertness, memory and cognitive impairment, among several other complications.

While many students nationwide struggle with stress because of school, it is important for students to realize that there are many coping mechanisms that can eliminate anxiety and lead to a more relaxed state of mind. For example, watching a funny video on YouTube every once in awhile can create a much needed break between homework assignments. Also, communicating with teachers can be a big help when feeling overwhelmed. In some cases, teachers will grant an extension on an assignment if students are honest about what is going on and reach out for assistance. Other coping strategies include deep breathing, counting to ten, listening to music, taking a quick ten minute nap, progressive muscle relaxation, exercise, drawing, writing, or any activity that increases relaxation.

Stress is an issue that affects students everywhere and sometimes it can feel completely overwhelming. However, students must take the time to figure out ways to avoid stressors. Budgeting time better can eliminate a lot of last minute rushing, and in benefit can make students feel much calmer and more prepared. In the end, it’s important to always keep in mind that mental healthiness comes first and if talked to, many adults would understand the need for an extension or help in school. Something that feels stressful today might look trivial in a few days so. Remember, stress is only temporary, and once an individual learns how to minimize it, he/she can accomplish anything.