Keeping Up by Constanza Del POsso

Stressed Out Teens

Every day, Francesca Medeiros wakes up at 5:40 AM, goes to the gym to practice for her after school rowing class, spends over six hours in class, gets home, does exercise, completes her homework, works on essays and interviews to apply to one of the top boarding schools in the country, calls her friends to catch up with them, and memorizes lines for her prestigious theatre class. Now ask yourself, “how do students handle/ keep up with social life, grades, relationships, college, goals, extracurriculars, staying fit, and other personal issues and struggles all at once without cracking under all that pressure?”

Aside from this, many teens have their own unique, individual problems to worry about, whether it be at home, school, or even dealing with their own personal, internal battles. While many students face heavy weights and expectations put upon their shoulders, they all have individual struggles and it seems that keeping up with all that is essentially doing the impossible. Nowadays, many high school- age kids need to live up to expectations under social, cyber, internal, and parental pressure, and new internet services such as free movies and series, blogs, social groups, and online friendships don’t do anything to make it easier for the teens of this generation.

Nowadays, students have a lot of work to do and it can easily put them under a lot of pressure.

RealTeens and Real Issues

Oriol Almela, an eighth grader at EARJ, opens up on what he's stressed about and why.

  • Francesca Medeiros, an eighth grader at Miami Arts Charter school in Miami, Florida, is a “victim” of social and academic pressure. With working hard to keep up her regular grades at school, Francesca is also struggling to complete application essays and prepare for interviews in order to get accepted into her dream high school: Exeter boarding school. Throughout the past year, her main goal has been Exeter. It should be all she focused on, but teen life makes that a very difficult concept to realize. Francesca leaves her house at six in the morning every day of the week, and only gets back at eight in the afternoon. When asked how she felt about this, Francesca stated: “It’s hard to keep up with so many things at such a young age, and to be honest half the time I’m not even sure what I’m doing, but I know it’s for the best and it will shape my future.” She balances staying in shape for state rowing competitions, hanging out and staying in touch with her best friends, and academics all in one. How does she do it?
  • On a much different spectrum of “teenage pressure” is ninth grader Samantha Ruch, a student at Philadelphia Father Judge High School. Samantha’s main struggle when faced with high expectations and huge workload is the fact that she cracks under pressure. Easily. Samantha struggles with many stress and anxiety issues that easily discourage her from staying afloat. She says: “I feel as though everyone expects more of me than I’m capable of delivering, and I’m afraid to disappoint them and myself in the process.” While having to keep up her academic grades and being worried with her transition from middle to high school, Samantha is also handling many social issues, with friends close and far. In addition to this, she needs to balance staying in shape, and her own personal passions: needs to practice advanced songs for her choir class, read and memorize scripts for theatre, practice sketching and continue writing a draft for her fictional novel. Sometimes, finding yourself and what you love is the most difficult part of being a teenager. How does she do it?
  • Finally, in what is often considered “the most difficult school year”, Francesca Del Posso, a Junior at Escola Americana, comes into the picture. Between balancing heavy stacks of school work from eight different teachers, college applications and decisions, job internships, SATs, tutoring courses, and keeping up her grades in order to get into university, life hasn’t been the easiest for her this past year. Nevermind handling relationships, friendships, staying fit, and more. Francesca also feels as though she needs to set a good example for her younger sister. When asked what she made of the whole situation, Francesca said: “it’s hard and I don’t know how I got this far, but I’m gonna keep going.” It takes a lot of effort to keep up with all the eleventh-grade drama and pressure, and from the outside looking in it appears even harder than this sounds. To reach an almost college-level education under all this pressure without breaking once isn’t an easy feat. How does she do it?
There are many things, within and outside of schools, that have teens feeling anxious and stressed.

Statistics

An article shows that an average teenager nowadays has as much anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the 1950’s. Conducted research results from EARJ eighth-grade students demonstrated that, out of the students interviewed, 100% have homework after school, 83% practice sports, 16% have clubs, 33% have music lessons, and 26% have something else to do, such as theatre, dance, or something else. All students interviewed admitted that they easily become stressed by school, and 70% said that the most relevant source of stress for them is homework. However, 54% said that, if one of their extracurricular activities was to be taken away, they feel as though they wouldn’t be any less frustrated. Many students feel as though the source of their worries is school in itself, and the workload it gives them.

Doing the Impossible

Students nowadays need a lot of motivation to keep up with all their individual hardships. Going through academic, social, internal, creative, parental, and career struggles isn’t easy for anyone, and perhaps students, who now more than ever have more pressure with online pressure and presence growing, deserve more recognition than they’re getting. Teenagers are essentially doing the impossible, balancing everything that’s thrown at them while still keeping their chin up and game face. Any outsiders watching a teenage student go through this might think to themselves, how do they do it?

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Credits:

Created with images by kcxd - "Sunset"

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