Survey Reveals Significant Student Stress
APRIL 17, 2012BY CANVASS 4 COMMENTS
By Jay Panandiker and John Rowe.
Students of our generation face unparalleled pressure and challenges with society’s current emphasis on academic perfection. One of the most pressing challenges for students in recent times has been dealing with stress rooted in classroom expectations and onerous workloads. While many have argued that motivational and challenging stress is an instrumental part of the academic process, it is paramount that the stress is tactfully balanced to ensure the healthy lifestyle of the American high school student. A recent Canvass survey reveals that stress at Seven Hills is a major issue for a significant number of students. It is not uncommon in a high school environment for a few scattered students to claim that they have too much to do, and that they are stressed. However, this survey indicates it was not just a few students who believed their stress levels were too high, but, in fact, a significant portion of students. Out of the 204 students surveyed, only eight believe that they had no stress whatsoever. This number is dwarfed by the 29% of students who said that they had high stress and the 42% students who said that they were moderately stressed. When asked about their preferred levels of stress, students almost unanimously report that they wanted to be less stressed than they currently are. Very few selected that they are satisfied with high stress. Instead, 45% students, a much more sizable group, believe that they should have limited stress. According to the students surveyed, their stress comes from any number of sources; however the major causes are schoolwork and college preparation. School work seems to be the primary stressor across all grades, with 93% of those surveyed listing it as the primary source of stress. However college preparation is not far behind with almost 70% of upperclassmen listing it as an important stressor. College prep seems to be less important in the sophomore and freshman demographics. Another telling statistic is the amount of stress that came from the expectations of various groups, specifically parents, peers, teachers, and the school at large. Expectations from parents seem to be the largest stressor. Over 50% of those surveyed indicate that parental expectations are a source of moderate to high stress. On many surveys students claim that their parents had high expectations, especially in regards to Honors/AP classes. Others, however, claim that because their expectations of themselves are higher than those of their parents, they are less stressed. Many students report that teacher expectations are less of a stress source because teachers tend to be more accepting. Similarly, academic stress from peers seems not to be a huge issue, and it is frequently cited that friends are unconditionally supportive. Yet, some claim that their friends are academically competitive. Another revealing statistic is the pressure felt from expectations of the school at large: 50% indicated that the school as an institution caused moderate to extreme stress. Students frequently commented that the school’s high standards of excellence and the heavy emphasis on marketing has created a stressful environment. As opposed to school website from the 2010-2011 school year which featured five bullet points in a section titled “Just the Facts: Scholastic Achievement,” the current “Seven Hills by the Numbers” features twenty-six bullet points related to student performance on standardized test scores, which include new statistics about the amount of perfect scores achieved on tests. The effects of school related stress vary from student to student. Therefore, it is impossible to create overarching generalizations about the effects of the stress. Yet, it is possible to determine that stress can have both positive and negative effects on the average student. Hans Selye, a psychologist and one of the world’s...
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