With competition for college admission rising every year, high schoolers are finding it difficult to cope with the pressure. Keeping good grades is no longer enough for admission to the more selective universities, so students are picking up challenging AP classes, studying for standardized tests, and filling their schedules with as many extracurricular activities as possible to expand their options for the future. High School pushes students to achieve at their best until the day they graduate, a stressor seniors are experiencing even the last few weeks before summer. “If I don’t get my calculus grade up as soon as possible, my acceptation to UF may be recalled,” a Viera High student worries. Students say that the pressure has become too overwhelming, a complaint that is backed up by research presenting increased stress levels in teens. Another major setback in the education system may be the loss of love for learning experienced by students who are focused on cramming in as much information as possible into their brain. So is it worth the fight? How much will it all actually matter once students are out in the job market? As a high school student it will be hard to answer those questions, and that’s why many are doing everything in their power get a head start in life.
If an average of 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night is the new normal, something Katie Cassidy says she has experienced several weeks this school year, there must be ways to cope with the pressure. Other schools are trying path-breaking techniques like fifteen minutes of yoga every morning during school, therapy dogs in some hallways, or one homework free day every month. In a small survey, Viera High students show unanimous support for these proposals. However, none of those exercises are getting at the real problem, which seems to have escalated beyond control. It is especially hard because of the competitive nature of all human being. It may be time for Americans to start measuring success in a different way, something that is primarily up to the individuals.