No one can deny the fact that it seems as though every year, there’s more and more added to the plate of students around the world. It wouldn’t even be far fetched for this to even relate to preschoolers who are starting to be expected to know the basics of numbers and letters in addition to having time to explore their surroundings. In high school, it’s honestly no different.

Every year, there’s going to be added levels of responsibilities…that’s a given, but recently, it seems to be growing exponentially. No longer can upperclassmen rely solely on their grades to get them into college, but there’s an entire list of what they need to do well in, aside from their GPA’s. Extracurricular activities, leadership positions, summer programs, athletics, and high standardized test scores are all some of the most basic requirements that any “successful” high school student needs in order to stay afloat in the competitive world of education. That might not seem like a lot, but add on AP courses, or the IB Diploma program, and that opens up even more countless nights of coffee and crying. It’s what we do best.

No matter where you go, teachers will always tell you it’s all about the learning that matters. “We should value the things we’re being taught over a simple letter grade”. Yet, that’s not the case. I can definitely say that I love to learn, and I’m sure many, many others are on the same boat as I am. Although, I’m also sure that for a lot of us, our primary goal isn’t to necessarily learn to be better people, but to learn and get good grades to achieve security, and maybe become a better person along the way. It’s definitely not the most positive of things to say, but that’s my honest take on many of our current situations.

I’m not sure if it’s just me or not, but it seems like every year, there’s so much more to take in. Students are being pressured into doing more activities and take on more difficult courses, and make more decisions as high schoolers. Is it selfish to say that it’s a lot for a group of sixteen to seventeen year olds to handle? Of course it’s expected for us to take on more responsibilities; it’s simply a part of growing up. Yet, there’s more and more pressure to do better, not to simply broaden our scopes of knowledge, but to elbow out our competitors. The education system is no longer being seen as a way for students to simply learn in a safe environment, but rather, it’s making its students adopt a cutthroat and survival of the fittest kind of mentality.

No matter how many people tell us that it’s not about the rankings or the grades or the scores we get on tests, it’s not going to change our ways of thinking. We’ve been told since childhood to “aim high” and “not let anything get in our way”, and being told that “average” is good enough can’t really soothe our stress.

We’re all growing into a fast-paced, ever developing world, and we’re being tasked to try and make it out as successful as possible. In the end, however, we’re still part of that privileged margin that can attain these levels of education, so we should honestly try and make the best of what we’ve been graced with. So from one stressed high school student to another, if you’re feeling a bit stressed or pressured or frustrated, or a mixture of all three, take a breather. I can’t say to just relax and not stress, because I know how useless it is to be told that. But in the competition of life, sometimes it’s necessary to take a short breather before getting right back in there and winning the gold (which might just be finishing a presentation or an essay or a lab report or…you get the idea).

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