Author: Diana Prince
One of the biggest sources of stress in any young person’s life is school. Of course, many things about school can be stressful – friendships, relationships, popularity. But many of us feel immense pressure to get good grades, and it take a pretty big toll on our minds and our bodies. Yet, at the time, it often seems worth it. Passing that test or getting an ‘A’ on your assignment can seem like the only important thing in your life – or maybe just the only way to avoid disappointing your parents.
While many of us know that marks don’t mean much, we often feel really pressured to perform well. But what are the harms of this? A lot of people think working hard for higher grades builds work ethic and study skills and it sometimes can. If you learn to study in a disciplined and effective way then your hard work is definitely paying off. But what happens when we start staying up late every night? Or we sacrifice good eating habits so we can study longer and harder? If we put too much pressure on ourselves then we will start to break. If you reach your breaking point it could be more harmful rather than good.
Passing that test or getting an ‘A’ on your assignment can seem like the only important thing in your life – or maybe just the only way to avoid disappointing your parents.”
The first thing to combat this is to remember that your marks do not define you. You should never rely on your grades to validate you, nor should you see your marks as a measure of how worthwhile you are. Tests and quizzes only assess you in one of a million ways, and many people who don’t do well in school can be really successful in other areas.
Second, remember that pressures from other people should never be more important than what you want for yourself. I know that such a principle can be really idealistic and impossible for a lot of people (mainly with their parents) yet trying to maintain the mantra that you define yourself, and not anyone else, can really be very impactful.
Finally, keep in mind that, if you do want very high academic success, often taking some of the pressure off can be the best way to attain that. It’s so easy to get caught up in studying and working that we forget that our bodies are the ones taking the tests and writing the assignments. As much as you study, if your brain is running on 2 hours of sleep, it can’t function that well during a test. Remember that staying physically and mentally healthy will actually benefit your marks far more than a couple more hours of studying. A healthy body and mind lead to better grades.
If you keep these principles in mind, hopefully that can relieve some of your stress, and even help you do better in school. Ultimately, though, remember that you are more important than the marks you get in school, and nothing can ever change that.
If you ever need support with schoolwork, stress, or anything else, don’t hesitate to contact ConnecTeen.