Anxiety: High school’s affect on teenagers

Anxiety. Many students can relate to this word. It is a common reaction to stress that many people deal with everyday. It naturally happens as a result of different situations in one’s life. Anxiety is not constant and changes quickly. People’s mental health has changed dramatically over the past few years, and there are significant reasons for it. 

School is one major reason. Many students feel the pressure to succeed in today’s very competitive society. Students compare themselves to others’ grades, skills and capabilities, which creates anxiety to try to reach that. Most students get overwhelmed by homework, tests and grades. 

“Teachers remind people of the fact that they will maybe go to college and that grades affect our future[…]that’s stressing me out,” FHS Sophomore Elinor Segev said.

 Although academics may be the primary source of school stress, social life at school also contributes to it. The pressure of being social, going to school events and being present in classes has a negative effect on students.

COVID-19 has also played a huge role in adolescent mental health. Young people are more anxious compared to previous years, as the long lockdown led to people not having social interaction at all. Naturally, this resulted in a big change in peoples’ perspectives and abilities in many situations. 

“I feel like Covid made a lot of people reflect on themselves and maybe gave people anxiety because they notice stuff they haven’t noticed before about themselves,” Segev said.

People’s lifestyle and habits before COVID-19 were different than after, and so coming from the lockdown to a new reality caused a lot of stress, especially among young people who came back to school. Students in high school make important decisions about their lives, specifically about their plans after high school, so uncertainty about the future, especially since the pandemic caused a lot of anxiety around students.

Social media is another factor that may be contributing to anxiety among young people. It is a big part of one’s life, specifically for teens, since they use it for several hours a day. Despite the fact that social media has many positive aspects like social interactions and creativity, it can create stress on oneself due to the comparisons and the fear of missing out on social gatherings.

Seeing people online achieve extradorniary things can undermine a normal person’s confidence. 

“People who have social media, and famous people that achieved things[…]that puts a lot of pressure on others,” Segev said.

Social media mostly highlights happy events and moments in people’s life. People post only joyful parts of their day, giving the impression that everything is perfect. As a result, people develop expectations for their own lives and feel the pressure to present a similarly ideal image of their own lives.

Overall, it is important to acknowledge that everyone feels anxious, and it is a very common feeling. There are always individuals who can provide help and support, both within and outside of school. Not overloading yourself emotionally and physically with expectations and workloads has proven to be helpful.

“Students need to realize for themselves that their anxiety and anxiousness is basically in their hands,” Segev said.