As a student, I can confidently say that school is the largest stress-producer in my life. Whether I am hanging out with friends, playing my favorite sport, or simply watching my favorite TV show, the looming factor of out-standing assignments and upcoming assessments never fails to linger in my clustered brain.
Research & Data
In February 2019, the Pew Research Center conducted a psychological study in order to associate anxiety levels with certain genders and ethnicities. “61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades. About six-in-ten teens (59%) say they plan to attend a four-year college after they finish high school, and these teens are more likely than those who have other plans to say they face a lot of pressure to get good grades” (Horowitz & Graf).
Analyzing the Data
From an analytical standpoint, females tend to have a higher interest in attending a four-year college. Simultaneously, this common desire leads to an increase in pressure to get good grades, also leading to more anxiety in students. Overall, this pattern shows that students with higher goals beyond their high school years tend to face more anxiety and pressure while still in high school.
Instead of kicking our feet up and accepting these numbers, it is important that we put in the effort to make a difference. Improving the mental health of our high school generation will lead to a more productive, well-functioning society in the future. Having the balance of managing schoolwork and extracurricular activities can undoubtedly be difficult, yet it is a challenge that can be more easily overcome if schools across the country take action.
One plan to relieve some of the stress placed on students could revolve around eliminating finals and putting a limit on the amount of homework assigned across all subjects. Oftentimes, students find themselves in a situation where they feel as though they are stuck in quicksand, never able to get out and take a breath of air. What I mean by this is that homework from all subjects doesn’t stop piling on until the end of the year. This feeling that there is always something to have to complete is a toll that nearly 6 out of 10 students struggle with across the United States.
Students are generally in school for anywhere from 6-7 hours, learning new information and trying to process it all at once. On top of that, they are faced with hours upon hours of homework every night, often assignments that must be completed prior to the following day of learning.
The argument to limiting the amount of homework is that students need to practice and take time on their own to understand the skills that they are learning in the classroom. However, between studying for assessments and discussing the information in class, it seems as though excessive amounts of homework serve no purpose whatsoever.
Furthermore, I believe that there should be a 2 hour homework limit across all classes combined per school day in order to regulate excessive homework assignments. For example, if your schedule has 4 classes, then each subject should be permitted to assign 30 minutes of homework maximum. This method will ensure that no teacher gives too much homework while allowing students to mentally function like normal teenagers once again.
Another solution to lessen anxiety among students could be eliminating final exams. Although they only take up a few days of school at the very end of the year, their looming pressure weighs on students more than you could imagine. The process of studying for hours on end and stressing about the complexity of the final itself can lead to unnecessary anxiety levels.
“The experience of high levels of academic-related stress increases the risk of young people developing preventable physical health problems later in life” (Pascoe). By implementing these two solutions into curriculums across the country, our younger generation will avoid unnecessary anxiety and eventually have the opportunity to become leaders in our society.