Academic Expectations Have Changed for Students; Is It Too Much?

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  • The overload of work may end in a successful grade, but the mental state of the student is forever compromised. Photo Source: Pinterest.

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Growing up, we all hear stories of how high school is the best time of our lives: the football games, car rides and lifelong friendships. As kids, we were excited about the idea of high school we created in our minds. However, we come to the disappointing conclusion that high school is anything but the best time of our lives. 


The word “school” is often associated with stress and anxiety in kids nowadays. It consists of endless homework, tests, quizzes and the fear of rejection from dream colleges. So, has the academic curriculum and expectations changed for students today–and is it too much?


The idea of school is idealistically meant to be a stepping stone towards the rest of one’s life. Schools tell kids that a letter or number does not define one’s future, but then again, kids are ranked within their grade level. It’s about who has the highest GPA, and that rank can be the deciding factor of college acceptance. This often results in severe cases of perfectionism that eventually lead to detrimental burnout. 


Schools tell students that they are not defined by their transcript, but say if one does not take rigorous courses, they have a lower chance of competing against other kids for their desired future. This results in homework overload for students as they strive to take challenging courses to outcompete others. This pressure often results in stress about their future and whether they can succeed or not. 


Junior Lilly Marker described her weekly school workload. “ It is usually two or more hours of homework a night combined with at least two to three tests and three to four quizzes for the week.” When asked, Marker explained the feelings she associates with school are “stress, anxiety and burnout.” 


Senior Abby Smith gives the view of a senior experiencing the college process. “The college application process is extremely stressful because students must pitch themselves to schools that will determine their future. Colleges judge students based purely on test scores and extracurricular activities, they do not take into account the personal lives of the students they are accepting and rejecting.”


Schools pressure students to take rigorous courses as a benefit results in a lack of time for other extracurricular activities that also act as a necessity for college acceptance. Instead of having time for themselves, with friends and family, or finding new hobbies, students are stuck in an endless cycle of homework and stress from AP and honor classes. 


These rigor expectations have majorly increased in students today. Rather than a “High School Musical” fantasy, school generations today experience the relentless and endless cycle of stress, anxiety, breakdowns and burnouts hidden in the label that is school.