Balancing the struggle of getting good grades and staying mentally healthy can take a toll on students.
According to Dr. Akira Sawa (a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences), adolescent brains are more vulnerable to the stress hormone cortisol, and may feel its effects more heavily and quickly; some of those effects can cause damage that can last up until adulthood. 90.4% of about 5% of students surveyed at Paso Robles High School reported feeling stress due to grades and schoolwork. Some students have reported losing sleep and even experiencing panic attacks on multiple occasions when school got too overwhelming. Other major effects that can occur due to stress include headaches or frequent sickness, withdrawal from friends and activities, changes in sleeping and eating, anger, irritability, hopelessness, and the most extreme: suicide. When asked about the issue, former PRHS student responded saying, “School would stress me out and give me anxiety, I tried my best yet I would still get bad grades. Every student is held to the same expectations but it’s harder for some than it is for others, even if they put the same amount of effort into school.” PRHS freshman Shaylee Cardenas responded with, “It tends to deteriorate your mental health due to the constant reminder of grades hanging over your head.” While reading through the responses received from the survey, I found that these two students weren’t the only ones that felt this way, proving that this isn’t just an issue that affects one or two people.
While this issue may not affect you, it’s an issue that can possibly be affecting one of your close friends or a family member. Surveys have proved that students go to different people for support in times of stress; out of about 5% interviewed at PRHS, 68% reported going to a close friend or a family member, 8% went to a teacher, 4% went to their parents, 2% went to a counselor outside of school, and 18% didn’t go to anyone. While the stress that comes with grades and schoolwork affects students in different ways, it’s an issue that does affect a large group of students.