Student Pressure

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Student Pressure

Julia Zacher

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The majority of us in the Academy community love school. We are encouraged to learn and explore in a healthy and safe environment: a privilege which many people don’t have. But in this safe environment are we becoming victims without even knowing it?  

Victimized by academic pressure, we’ve all seen or experienced it. It usually comes in the form of late-night studying, followed by very little sleep, and then waking up at the crack of dawn to study some more. Students are plagued with thoughts of exams, reports, deadlines, and their grades.

To many, academic pressure is not bad; in fact, it is necessary in order to excel in school, especially at Academy. Academic pressure is what allows you to ace that exam, and most importantly, become educated for life and its many challenges. Academic pressure is even a contributor to my being up at 10:00 p.m. writing this article. So, at what point does academic pressure become unhealthy?

I can just imagine what is going through your head as you read this article: Well hey, duh, everybody knows academic pressure can be bad for students. But just how bad can it really be? Prolonged academic pressure is awful for a student. It can cause students to become physically and mentally unhealthy. It can cause jealousy and unhealthy competition among friends and classmates. If academic pressure can have such negative effects, what is the Academy community doing to help its students?

Picture an intense, hostile environment like the jungle scene from Mean Girls: That was my eighth-grade experience. Instead of wishing academic luck to everybody in my class, I found myself secretly hoping my friends would fail. Yes, this sounds awful, but it is true. The academic achievement award given to students at the end of the year separated the “smart from the stupid” and everyone in my class wanted to be “smart.” The pressure to make it onto the stage at the end of the year was intense and my class felt overwhelmed; a 95 on an exam would cause a breakdown and tears. Clearly this was unhealthy.

When the teachers finally stepped in, they sought help from the school counselor who told us what we already knew: stress is bad. The counselor talked to us and tried to teach us common ways to relieve stress. Unfortunately, this was close to the end of the year and it wasn’t very effective.  

Now, it’s my first year of high school and the signs of academic pressure are already visible. I have heard countless girls come into school in the morning complaining about the little sleep they have gotten and how they are only getting through school because of the coffee they drink. Clearly, stress continues to be a problem, and I am hopeful that the students and faculty will work together to appropriately address this serious issue. I encourage my fellow students to speak up and get the Academy faculty to recognize the importance of this issue.


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