Does the S Stand for School or for Stress?

Franceska Lucaj, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Grades, 6 a.m. mornings, tests, extracurricular activities, and preparing for college all play a huge factor in the tremendous increase of stress in high school students. 

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, teens reported their stress level was 5.8 on a 10-point scale, compared with 5.1 for adults. 

This discussion has aroused much controversy in the sense that many adults believe that the amount of stress has either decreased or stayed the same. 

According to guidance counselor Mrs. Barbara Jean Mancini, “[The stress level] has increased. I believe that education taught is moving much faster. By junior year you’ll have enough credits to graduate. So what’s the point? Just because it is moving faster doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready.” 

The current curriculum is moving at a much faster rate than before. As a result, middle schoolers can take high school classes and high schools can take college classes.  

The assistant principal for teaching and learning, Mrs. Donna Sweet, believes that the situation is a lot more uncertain. “I don’t know if it has increased or decreased,” she said.  “I think the type of stress has changed. In my opinion, kids have fewer coping skills. That is the missing ingredient. I think in general it’s the kind of stress that has changed because we now live in a world that is constant and constantly changing and growing.” 

A survey by the Current Wave found, 84% of the students that responded stated school is their biggest stressor and 37.2% stated they do not have the coping skills to help them. 

When the students were asked what happens when they’re stressed, a student, who will remain anonymous, said “ When I’m stressed, I can’t think about anything besides what’s making me stressed. It’s like this weight on my shoulders that never goes away. Just when one assignment I’ve been stressed about is finally done, another one just comes to take its place. I’m in a constant state of guilt and can’t enjoy doing other things.” 

The students were also asked, “Has NKHS affected your mental health?” Most students explained that it has affected them negatively. 

Another anonymous student at North Kingstown High School said, “It’s like all the school work I have to get done. Yeah, it’s two days but I have other homework and when I’m sick I miss so much because sometimes it’s on paper and my friends can’t bring me the work so it just piles up and up and then I would usually cry about how much work I have to do with no time, but it’s a lovely school and most of the students here are nice” 

Students are found being greatly overwhelmed by the amount of work they are given in such little time. Most students have other things such as work or clubs they have to do after school, that they tend to run out of time to do homework.  

On top of school stress there comes stress from extracurricular activities. There is a lot of pressure for students to be well rounded. 

North Kingstown is a very competitive school when it comes to sports. The students who play sports for the school tend to have a major disadvantage when it comes to time for homework. The amount of homework given and the unrealistic expectations envisioned of students creates a great deal of stress that is affecting their overall academic performance. 

“I do think some adults lose sight of how important it is to be well rounded… and being well rounded doesn’t always mean being just a student,” said Mancini.