By Sneha Kandalgaonkar (‘21)
Summer is characterized as a time where teenagers are outside from morning until night, go on picnics in the park, and spend whole days at amusement parks and beaches. They might make new friends at a sleepaway camp or have a romantic summer fling. Overall, summer is filled with new and exciting opportunities that are meant to teach teenagers about life and help them discover who they are.
This may be true in movies and television, but for teenagers in real life, it is may be far from reality.
SAT preparation, summer courses, and endless pages of summer assignments. Teenagers in South Brunswick can probably relate to participating in one or more of those activities. It does not come as a surprise that teenagers today have more stress than previous generations.
One-third of teenagers claim that they feel anxiety to a certain degree. This majority of this anxiety is credited to school, but family issues, relationships, and puberty are significant causes as well.
Many students in high school deal with social stress, where they are anxious about how they fit in with the people around them and how they measure up in comparison to their peers. This anxiety is heightened by social media, where teenagers can put their entire life on display for public judgment. Even if a teenager does not post or comment on social media, he or she can still view the lives of other people they compare to his or her own.
Teenagers today are stereotyped as being “angsty”, but that comes with some good reason. It is common for people to expect children today to know what they want to do with their lives right as they start high school.
Sophomore Angelin James commented on how her workload and stress have been increasing ever since she entered high school.
“I’m taking a course over the summer and studying for SATs. I definitely feel more stressed out because of high school. I get maybe two hours to myself every week, and I know that’s just how high school is but it really doesn’t seem healthy” said James.
Going to university no longer seems like a choice- everyone is expected to pursue higher education, especially in today’s competitive job market. Not only are teenagers expected to go to college, but they are also constantly being pressurized to push their limits in order to go to the best college. Being average is no longer enough; teenagers today are told that if they want to succeed then they have to strive to be the best and that there is almost no room for error if he or she wants to be the best.
Counselor Ms. Sandra Lucariello gave insight on teens and school-related stress.
“Kids make the assumption that they’re not enough because of comparisons [due to social media] and then academically because there’s such importance, and I understand that importance, to get into colleges. The stress starts earlier or them and there’s a lot of pressure, academically from families and kids to just do everything perfectly” commented Ms. Lucariello.
Dealing with school, friends, family, and extracurriculars can feel wearisome and stressful to teenagers. Despite the pressure to have a perfect GPA or get into the best school, it is important for teenagers to slow down in this fast-paced world and realize they are not going to be young forever.
While it is important to stay on top of grades and maintain relationships, it is also essential for teenagers to take care of their mental health in a world that appears to be growing more and more complicated as time flies by.