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LHS News

The school news site of Liberty High School

LHS News

The school news site of Liberty High School

LHS News

Crushing the Pressure

Understanding the journey of academic stress in teens.

According to Cross River Therapy, in 2023, “75% of high school students reported being stressed about academics on a daily basis. The US is ranked as the number one country with the most stressed students.” 

   Stress in teens resulting from academics continues to be a growing problem as numbers continue to increase due to added expectations students feel they can’t meet. Liberty High School students are required to have 25.5 credits to graduate with 1 MVA and are strongly encouraged to take AP classes. All of this leads to students overworking themselves leading to higher stress levels. 

   Overdoing Homework and Assignments:

   According to Pew Research Center, “academic pressure, college preparation and social expectations are some of the top stressors for high school students.” 

   Most classes have daily homework and assignments like notes, at LHS students have seven classes and a flex hour to work on those assignments however, many times it takes more than just flex to finish homework resulting in taking time away from sleep and extracurriculars like sports and clubs.

      “There are so many assignments, especially in bio, I feel that I get behind before I can even catch up. Getting behind on assignments is kind of rough,” freshman Lillia Kropp said.

   A poll sent out on Jan. 17, found students identify homework and assignments as the number one stressor, and what’s even more troubling is only 20% of students surveyed said they found the homework useful or worthwhile. Students did however find that the more time they study in class with the assigned teacher the better they did on the final assessment. 

   According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), “research fails to show any benefit to piling it on beyond an hour in middle school or two hours in high school (all subjects combined).” 

   Traditionally, high school students take anywhere from six to eight classes with different teachers and each assigns their own homework which can take up to two hours. To avoid student overload, some schools have tried making a shared calendar for teachers with all homework and tests for a class having a specific day like math work on Tuesdays, english on Monday. Schools are also including classes like AVID to teach organization skills like time management and taking notes. 

Not Enough Sleep:

   Another issue which affects students is not getting enough sleep. With homework and extracurriculars, getting the recommended amount of sleep sounds like a dream but sleep is a fundamental requirement to learning.

   According to the CDC the recommended amount of sleep for teens aged 13-18 is 8-10 hours per 24 hours. If a student typically wakes up at 6:00 AM, to get the recommended amount of sleep they would need to go to bed from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Most students, however, do not do this and only get around 6 hours of sleep leading to increased stress

   Getting enough sleep can be the difference between passing and failing a test or putting your best work into an assignment.

   “I have a lot of work during the day and not all teachers realize that you can’t use your flex time for only their class, if you have other classes. I end up going to bed late and waking up early, which messes up my sleep schedule and makes me moody and super tired the next day. Then, I don’t perform as well,” Kropp said.

   Some schools have gone to later start times to help teens get more sleep. In 2022 California implemented a policy requiring all middle and high schools to not start any earlier than 8:00 am. This would allow for a student to go to bed at 9:00pm and wake up at 6:00am while still getting 9 hours of sleep.

Too Many Classes:

Liberty High School requires at least 25.5 credits and one MVA to graduate while recommending 28 credits and two MVA’s for aspiring college students. The stress the American school system puts on college is overbearing for many students even though they find college important. 

   “I think college is important but sometimes it’s really overwhelming because there’s a lot of pressure” freshman Zoe Moore said. 

   Some schools however like Park Hill South have switched to less classes (4) per semester using more class time to understand a topic than teach to test.

Effects of Stress in School:

   Stress can have multiple effects on the body and mind including insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress also physical effects of stress like heart disease, high blood pressure, and body aches that limit students productivity and success.

   With assignments piling up, students’ mental health is being affected. Anxiety and depression are the most common effects of these high stress levels. 

   According to the American Psychological Association, “30% of American teenagers reported feeling sad or depressed because they felt overwhelmed by their homework and extracurricular activities.”

   If you are feeling overstressed, reach out to a trusted adult Such as a teacher, parent or counselor.

Liberty High School Counselors: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] 

Liberty High School Social Worker: [email protected]

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