It's like a pressure cooker in here! No doubt, school is tough. For some, it's the worry of being able to get enough credits to graduate high school, while for others it's being able to get a 4.0 GPA and get into Stanford. No matter what our goals are, we all struggle with a tremendous amount of stress and pressure.
At school there is a range of academic pressure we feel, derived from a need for perfection, worry over grades, parental pressure, competition, sports, or a tough class load.
Academic pressure does not begin in college. The nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, burnouts, and depression are also apparent in many younger students. The same situation is not always stressful for all people, and all people do not undergo the same feelings or off-putting thoughts when stressed.
Having a strong support network to fall back on when times get tough at school is critical to staying upbeat and maintaining a big picture perspective. Friends can be the best people to relieve your stress, but they can also be the reason behind the stress.
Choose the friends that will be positive and supportive when the going gets tough. Having a good group of friends at help you maintain a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.
External forces also create academic pressure. Many of us fail in the subject of time management and excel at procrastination. The cure requires dedication and commitment.
Set up a schedule, or set a timer. When you watch T.V., play video games, or surf the web, set a timer for 30 minutes. Time allocation helps divide the hours to reasonable amounts so you are not left at the 11th hour to complete homework.
Some students just want to take the easy way out and cheat. They may have jobs after school to support their family or themselves, which carries a higher priority for them than school work.
In the same context, many students feel that excelling in sports is a higher priority than school. Others may resort to cheating to make up for their lack of academic motivation or live up to the standards set up by older siblings or parents.
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There are many healthy ways to deal with academic pressure. If you don’t feel motivated about a subject, arrange a study group. Reward yourself after completing every section. Other ideas include:
- Finish your work at a nearby café or library if the environment at home is not the best.
- If you play sports or work, take time to plan your hours to include more study time as well.
- If you know you have a big game coming up where you will be out for long practices, work ahead.
- Ask your teachers for assignments for the days you won't have sufficient study time.
- Make sure you maintain good sleeping and eating habits and, from time to time, go out for a run, a ride on your bike, and exercise. These will help alleviate your stress and get your body moving!
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Academic Pressure & Cheating
Up in the mornin' and out to school
The teacher is teachin' the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You studyin' hard and hopin' to pass
Workin' your fingers right down to the bone
– Chuck Berry, School Days
Ring! Ring! That lethal sound can only mean one thing; it is September and school is back in session, and along with it are the wandering eyes, cheat sheets, stolen tests, and technology, of course.
Cheating has become the method of survival, the only way to reach and maintain the top for many… but there are better routes to reach number one while keeping your integrity intact.
Cheating does not make you a smarter or better person. If you set reachable goals, study hard, and get outside help, you can succeed academically without cheating.
The key to keeping your integrity is to not stay up late doing non-school related activities and fall back on cheating when time runs out. People also resort to cheating when they have been pressured too much by their parents, or even by themselves.
Finally, if you are ever caught cheating, the teacher who catches you will tell the rest of your teachers, and their trust in you and your college recommendation letters go out the window.
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When Friendly Competition Goes Too Far
Friends & Competition
I can speak from experience when it comes to that less-than-helpful sort of competition between my friends and me that, often times, has been the cause of much of my academic stress.
For myself, I didn't want to let my parents or myself down by failing, but I also didn't want to fall below the standards of my friends. And when your friends are all in the running for being the class valedictorian, it’s hard! But it's important to set your own goals and take on your own responsibility.
It's good to be proud of other's accomplishments, but it's important to be proud of your own hard work as well. So every once in a while, make sure to give yourself a pat on the back!
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