HFM staff welcomes its newest addition, Lauren Galley, who will periodically offer a teen’s perspective on the issues we address in the magazine.
Today Lauren pens her thoughts on “Stressed to Impress,” a feature article written by Sara G. Stephens, which appeared in the March 2013 issue of HFM.
High school is often times described as the best time in the lives of young adults. This is when they discover who they are and what career path they will choose. However, stress is definitely a huge part of this equation. Unfortunately, the issue is not often discussed with teens who are entering high school. Parents and teachers are putting an incredible amount of pressure on students to make good grades. Putting more focus on how much knowledge students are learning and retaining is a vital piece of this complicated puzzle.
If a teacher hands me a written lecture and tells me to memorize it, chances are I will learn little to nothing. A more effective alternative is to provide students with a hands-on learning environment. If we focus on making learning fun and enjoyable in the classroom, then the test scores will simply improve themselves, because students will have a better chance of retaining the knowledge they learned in class. A lot of this has to do with the quality of one’s teacher. In my personal experience, the teacher you have can change what has the potential of being a really interesting course into a miserable experience. If the teacher is unengaged and doesn’t truly care about students’ wellbeing, more than likely the students won’t either.
Advance Placement (AP) courses are a wonderful option for students who learn at an advanced level. But not all students are able to qualify for these courses. The added pressure to attain these levels can result in a lack of self- confidence. This feeling of inferiority can have a huge effect on teens’ levels of stress, and can affect their future performance in school.
If students feel overwhelmed by what seems like an impossible amount of schoolwork, the chances of them either giving up and accepting a failing grade, or dropping out of school altogether are automatically increased. It is important to find each student’s comfortable learning level and assign attainable challenges that can lead to success.
In addition, the main “job” of a high school student should be to attain as much knowledge as possible and grow as a person. Parents’ focusing their child’s attention on devoting every spare moment to a sport or extracurricular activity will naturally cause a teen’s test scores to drop.
High school years in a young adult’s life can feel a bit like a balancing act. Ensuring that students have plenty of time to finish their schoolwork, and still feel like they can have fun in the process, will make their lives feel easier and decrease the statistics of stress and depression among teens.
Lauren Galley is the 18-year-old President and Founder of Girls Above Society, a non-profit organization mentoring tweens and teens facing the tough pressure of today’s society.