Opinion: School, let’s work on our mental health

Junior%2C+Yashua+Mujib+works+on+an+English+assignment+in+AP+Lang+on+September+17%2C+2019.+%E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s+only+been+two+months+into+junior+year%2C+and+I+already+feel+overwhelmed.%E2%80%9D
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Opinion: School, let’s work on our mental health

Junior, Yashua Mujib works on an English assignment in AP Lang on September 17, 2019. “It’s only been two months into junior year, and I already feel overwhelmed.”

Junior, Yashua Mujib works on an English assignment in AP Lang on September 17, 2019. “It’s only been two months into junior year, and I already feel overwhelmed.”

Junior, Yashua Mujib works on an English assignment in AP Lang on September 17, 2019. “It’s only been two months into junior year, and I already feel overwhelmed.”

Junior, Yashua Mujib works on an English assignment in AP Lang on September 17, 2019. “It’s only been two months into junior year, and I already feel overwhelmed.”

Madison Moon, Review Staff

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As someone who has struggled with anxiety, I found interest in the ways school impacts our mentality. I believe school can benefit and harm an individual’s mentality, the social aspect of school would be considered a benefit; however, the pressure and constant stress school has on us may be causing more damage than we know. 

It is common for teenagers to suffer from depression and anxiety, and it’s also common to inherit a significant amount of stress from school due to the tension. Additional stress on one who is already struggling with an unhealthy mentality will make focusing in school more difficult and will decrease the amount of courage one has in school. That being said, only 30% of teenagers get treated for depression and anxiety. Roughly 20% of teens suffer from depression, while 10-15% struggle from symptoms.  

Rangeview teacher, Carmen Curtis Basham, hands classwork to a student in her fifth period math class.

In fact, in 2016 3.1 million teenagers ranging from ages 12-17 in America had at least one depressive phase. That is 12.8% of America’s teenage population. How frequently have your teachers mentioned your future and plans for college? Academic pressure can be anything from college, fear of your future financial stability, the economy, grades, and so on. The fear of not reaching your future goals adds additional stress and pressure. For example, being reminded that there are high expectations that need to be successfully completed before being able to get into your desired college and career is intimidating.  

The stress caused by school leads to consequences. These vary from drug and alcohol use to even disregarding classes and choosing to ‘run’ from their responsibilities. This causes a variety of other issues: missing assignments, bad attendance, not getting an education, failing classes, etc. 

Attitudes received from teachers focus on the weakness of the students, rather than their strengths. The education systems goals are to perfect students, instead of praising their skills and abilities. Students lose interest and put less effort into classes they feel belittled in. Having a positive and rewarding atmosphere in classrooms will make students determined and assist them in taking their classes seriously. Homework is just a portion of the pressure that is put upon us. “Yeah, I feel like teachers are more focused on weaknesses, and don’t talk much about what we do well,” said Jayden Foster, a junior at Rangeview High School.

Speaking of studying, we should be informed ahead of time when we have a test or quiz. This will result in more successful test/quiz scores, and more confidence in the students’ performance on the test. 

A student walks up the front stairs, leading to Rangeview High School, to attend a busy and work-filled day.

High school teachers commonly assign three and a half hours of homework per week which is estimated to twenty four and a half hours of homework weekly (for students who have 7-day classes). This keeps teenagers away from their private lives outside school, such as time spent with their family, friends, jobs, and other activities that kids are dedicated to. Teenagers also involve themselves in sports and other after school activities, this leads to additional stress and less time to complete homework.

Enough facts for now, perhaps we should consider some possible solutions to the high stress rates of high school students? Obviously, decreasing the amount of homework given would benefit the free time that belongs to the students. To be fair, we spend 8 hours in school and to go from school to home to homework, it seems… unhealthy and overwhelming. “School has affected my mental health by putting so much stress on me and expect me to just take it. You have to stress about grades and homework and the counselors don’t really do anything to help the students. Their expectations are for us to handle it on our own,” said Rachel Etter, a junior at Rangeview High School.

If the weekly amount of homework was decreased, it would give us more room to relax and give ourselves a break. I also believe if we have less homework it will give us the opportunity to study more, and improve our understanding of the class. Having less homework responsibility would give us more time to focus on our time outside school. Which in result, would be healthier and enhance our desire to learn. Less homework would also give us more opportunity to study more, which will help boost our confidence in class.

While many of the issues in our school system are difficult to fix, there are simple steps that Rangeview can take to make the emotional toll on students easier to bare. To help decrease the amount of stress developed by school, we could ask for less homework, as well as give kids more preparation for tests and quizzes. Praising students for their good efforts and strong points, rather than focusing on the weak will keep kids determined. Rangeview has the ability to make our school a better place, now they just need to care enough to do it.