By Sydney Powell, Age 13

School can be stressful. Anyone who has ever been through middle or high school knows that. In school I learnt that a good amount of stress is healthy. I agree that with the right amount of stress, it can help motivate you to do what you need to do. But I also learned that too much stress can be unhealthy. This line states a good point too. Too much of something good is bad. Up until 7th grade I didn’t even know high amounts of stress could affect you physically. I remember the long 3 day lecture where we learnt that too much stress can cause headaches, Insomnia, lack of energy and more. This was a whole new concept to me. I mean who knew something like stress can affect you physically. But then I wondered, what’s something that all teens stress about? What could be a leading factor in the stresses teens face? Then it came to me, School.

In Middle school you are expected to follow the rules of the classroom, school, and district. You must finish the projects, homework, and regular work on time as well for all of your classes. In high school it is even more stressful, you have even more work, higher risks, and has to be done on time. If it isn’t done on time some teachers won’t even accept it and you have to live with an F on whatever was late. But what really puts the pressure on in high school is College. Mainly people mentioning it since we were little kids. In school, the pressure to do well in high school starts with standardized tests. They’re supposed to tell you if you will succeed or not in life. From 3rd grade on, Standardized tests tell you if you’ll get into a good collage and basically if you’ll live a happy life. All of this leading up to 4 years which we are told will either be the greatest of worst years of our life. The 4 years which decide if we get into good college, get a good job, and are successful in life.

But that’s just the Classwork part of school. There is a whole other portion of school which is known for the drama and stress it brings. The dredded social life of a student. In Middle School, it’s like the stereotypical high school in the movies. You have the rude popular girls, nice popular girls, the jocks, the jokesters, the nerds and geeks, but you do have the mixtures of each. But everyone, for the most part fits into at least one of those categories. In High School they still have the cliques and stuff. Most people have their groups that would do anything for them. But I like to think of it like the weather, the cliques are constantly changing in unpredictable ways. One minute someone could be your best friend in the whole world and poof! The next minute they’re your worst enemy. So of course this would be a big factor in the stress of a person’s life.

But there is one more stress that comes with, not only school, but life, Bullies. Most people will have to deal with at least one bully in their lifetime. Most of the time you hear about bullying happening in middle and high school. There are many different reasons people get bullied in the first place. It might be that their nose is too big or they’re too tall or too short. Sometimes it’s because the person has ADHD, Anxiety, or Autism. Being told that you don’t belong or that you’re stupid is hard enough, but then if you tell, you’re a snitch and “Snitches get stitches.” This makes it so you feel alone and while you are trying to handle your social issues in whatever way, you are still expected to do all your classwork for all your classes on time just like everyone else. But it’s twice as hard for the victim to to do this as it is for anyone else. The worst part about the Bullying situation is that before high school it is handled with friendship circles or in school suspension (ISS) where the bullies get to play on their phone. So people think it’s ok to treat others like crap and bully them given the lack of real consequences.

Not only is stress a problem in schools these days, but mental illnesses too. Depression and anxiety have infected the halls of our schools like plagues. I think they are linked to the same thing as stresses especially the social stressor contribution.  With all the hormones, brains that are not fully developed, and world issues it seems like school is a breeding ground for anxiety and depression.

With all of the Stress, anxiety, and depression going around school, they must be doing a lot to help the students who need it. They have counselors and for as long as I can remember, they’ve been telling us to talk about what we’re feeling, not to hold it inside. Earlier this year I was thinking of more things they could to to help the students, and I didn’t think of an easy solution. When learning about these issues in health class we learned what they were and symptoms to look out for and to talk to someone. But then when learning about sex, we learnt about all these places that you could go to get free protection and hundreds of things to do instead of having sex. After that I better realized what was missing when we were taught about stress, anxiety, and depression.  The classes focused on what depression, anxiety and stress were including how to identify them, but very little on how to access help and actually teach us coping skills. I can now easily identify them and although I don’t know where one, single therapy office is, I know where I can go for free condoms?! I’ve never learnt coping mechanisms in health class, I learnt them on Pinterest and music class. It would take one day to teach us how to cope with the stuff we’re learning about and where we can get help if needed outside of school. But we don’t learn that stuff. It’s like giving someone who can’t cook the ingredients to a cake telling them what it tastes like and leaving them to cook something. Do you expect them to cook the cake? No, you don’t. So why do schools tell us what these things are but not how to deal with them? They just expect the cake to be cooked.

The stress that school gives and the depression and anxiety in kids won’t go away. That’s why schools need to do more. The person can’t bake the cake until you give them instructions, so give them instructions. The Student can’t handle the stresses well until you give them the resources that they need.  It’s not that hard, yet it could help hundreds of students out there. Whether they’re too stressed, getting bullied, or suffering from anxiety or depression. When we know what we can do to get help, it doesn’t seem like as big of a hole to climb out of.