What Fuels Student Burnout?

What Fuels Student Burnout?

Arcadia Hinton-Cooley, Copy Editor

Walking down the hallways of Glen Ridge High School, an observer would pick up on a variety of conversations.
They might hear a group of students discussing the answers to a quarterly exam they just took, or friends rushing to finish a homework assignment due next period. Others could be talking about staying up late last night or skipping soccer practice to study. The common thread linking all of these everyday occurrences together? The ridiculous amount of stress for high school students today.

Students are more stressed than ever, or so we are told. This may in part be due to mindset. In past generations, it was thought that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Today, however, in many ways the world has become more and more accommodating to individual need. As Americans become more and more privileged and obtain higher standards of living with the innovations of cell phones and higher quality goods for cheaper prices, they gain a sense of entitlement. This entitlement means some kids feel that they shouldn’t have to feel any stress. What they don’t consider is that stress can be a positive thing, helping one to reach goals and do what needs to be done. In this way, the described stress that students are feeling is more a change in societal norms than an actual increase in stress levels.

However, worry about school can be a very negative influence on teens. It often leads to students experiencing
feelings of anxiety and depression.  Avery Dowd, a freshman at GRHS, says: “The pressure to get good grades is
overwhelming. I spend a lot of the time worrying about all of the things I have to get done, between school, friends, family, and extracurriculars.” Having such intense emotions linked to doing well in school is very common but very unhealthy. The high mental illness and suicide rates among teens reflects this. Students are sacrificing their mental health for their schoolwork.

Attending college is becoming more common, making acceptance more difficult but more expected than it used to be. This adds to the overwhelming pressure high school students are feeling. The problem is, many students reach their breaking point and “burn out”. Some students don’t have the tools to manage their stress positively, and give up entirely rather than working harder. This gives them a feeling of control- they are choosing not to study. However, doing so can impact their futures very negatively. GRHS needs to work to prevent this common occurrence by putting better mental health resources in place. Stress is taking over teens today, and we must work to stop it.