Stress around campus


The picture above is a scale that shows the different stressors teenagers deal with every day. Between different social, academic, sports related pressures such as social media, your sport of choice, peer pressure, grades and homework (as seen above) it can be hard.

Lauren Bunker, Staff Writer

How much pressure and stress can teenagers handle? A lot of stress is placed on teens these days.  In fact, I think it is exponential, more than when my parents were teens.  Many of the stressors of the past are still present today, school, sports and expectations from parents and society.  But today, teens are also faced with technology stressors and an extremely competitive culture. These new stressors although studied by many experts have yet to be fully understood and their impact will not be truly seen for years to come.


Last week I started sobbing because the amount of homework I had was too much. Many of my friends and peers have experienced the same scenario where homework and studying becomes overwhelming. One of the main causes of stress is school. On average a high school student has 3.11 hours of homework and spend 17 hours a week studying. That along with sports and social aspects can be quite stressful. When we started middle school, we were told we needed to know what we wanted to do. “Choose a path” was a phrase I heard constantly. My parents and others, as well as many students fear that even middle school choices might be able to influence college admission. Now that I’m in high school, the pressure is even greater. There are constant reminders that these are the grades that count. I have to perform well in every subject or I won’t get into my dream college. For these reasons students, such as I,  become very unsettled when they get a bad grade or don’t like class placements.


We, as students, tend to spend a lot of time on our phones, about 7.5 hours just on social media. It’s how we connect with peers and show others what we are doing. But with those perks comes the disadvantages. Every move is judged by peers, teens feel “on” all the time, the likes and followers we have measure our worth and we have pressure to be cute, sexy, funny, smart, popular, clever, etc. We start to compare ourselves to others and see our bodies and minds negatively.


Perfection. Everyone wants to achieve it, but is it really worth it? They tell girls to be happy, nice, popular, fun, pretty, skinny, curvy, tan, have perfect skin, teeth, with big butts and big chest, be tall and elegant, with high cheek bones and bikini bridges, thigh gaps. You must have the perfect body. And it’s not just girls. It isn’t talked about enough, but boys are just as much of a victim to society as girls are. They are expected to have abs, be strong, muscular, rugged, tough, play a sport but still be smart. Many teens starve themselves to live up to these expectations. Society expects us to act and look a certain way, but they also want us to be ourselves. How are we supposed to be who we are when we are told that who we are must still fit in certain parameters? Our self esteem lowers with each comment from our peers or each expectation we do not meet. Sometimes it feels like we can’t do anything to please society.


At a young age we are taught to compete- with sports, school, talents, looks. Many of us are influenced to be number one in everything we do. Everything seems to be a competition, especially to parents. Whether it be a soccer game or a game of monopoly we always feel the need to win. We push ourselves to be better but sometimes we need a break.


But How much stress is really put on teens? A study done by APA showed that teens had a 5.8 out of 10 level of stress compared to the average adult which had 5.1.  That kind of stress can affect us physically and mentally. We start losing sleep, not eating, feeling depressed or sad and many of us turn to drinking, partying, drugs, binge eating or not eating enough. In the end it isn’t the end of the world if we make one bad grade, couldn’t make varsity, aren’t valedictorian or don’t get into the college you want. Your mental state is more important than your grades.