The pressure that high school students experience is overwhelming and must be dealt with today. Parents, teachers and society as a whole can contribute to creating a less stressful environment within the school, but students themselves must also make efforts to manage their own stress.
Studies have shown that strong intra-school communication is extremely beneficial.
“I think [the school] should combine a way to communicate between student and teacher,” junior Faye Cheng said.
Better awareness of department activity and major assignments will help teachers to understand what their pupils might be going through with other important classes.
“If students aren’t doing well in one class, they might not be doing well in another [class],” Faye said. “It’s best for the student and teacher to know each other … and that will relieve the pressure.”
Keeping the whole school staff informed about midterms, major tests or projects from each subject department will help alleviate the huge loads on select nights.
Palo Alto High School and Homestead High School have adopted block period schedules every day, so students find their work spread out more evenly; therefore students can better focus on each assignment. It is a method worth considering for Los Altos High School, too.
“Unfortunately, I think students end up feeling our stress,” math teacher Teresa Dunlap said.
Parents can also be unknowing contributors to the mountain of stress from which students suffer. A parent’s expectations may not match the motivation of the student’s, so it can be difficult when a student messes up on a test or chooses a different route from the original one envisioned. But teenagers are old enough to make choices for themselves and deserve a modicum of independence and freedom. A supportive parent is more helpful than a critical, demanding one.
But the biggest part of the responsibility to deal with stress must be the students’ themselves. Stress is unfortunately inevitable, whether in an adolescent or adult’s life, but students can take the initiative to relieve a lot of stress on their own. Parents and teachers can always help and offer support, but a student’s own actions are often the most effective.
“It’s not like you go up to a teacher and say, ‘Hey teacher, I have a lot of stress,’ and then get a free homework pass or something,” sophomore Gary Yu said. “That’s not the way the school works.”
Furthermore, students need to allot their time accordingly. Good organization, focus and time management are the keys to success without stress. If students know they have piles of homework and decide to go to the concert at Shoreline anyway, they will suffer the consequences of having to cram or do a sloppy job on an assignment. Students need to be able to prioritize and not get distracted easily.
“[Students] could procrastinate less, and they could do homework instead of Facebook,” Gary said.
Instead of playing too many games, using up too many phone minutes or excessively stalking Facebook profiles, students should make homework a priority over goofing off. When students do not make a serious effort to manage their stress on their own, then nothing will happen.
However, if students are stressed, parents, teachers and the greater society should do all they can to help students. Stress is an increasing problem in today’s teenagers. The only way to reduce stress on a larger scale is for society as a whole to make the effort to do so.