Teens of this generation seem to be under more pressure than ever.
We try our best to maintain grades, while trying to compile our list of extracurriculars, volunteering, job experience, outstanding accomplishments etc. to impress colleges. While living in the moment, we also find stress in ¨Where am I going next?¨ There are jobs to search for, passions to find, and hope that it will all go smoothly. Our bodies are developing into adulthood, so our brains are just trying to sort themselves out.
Here at Reagan, there is an overall sense that our students are here to succeed. Intelligence, talent, and passion are key. There is an overwhelming expectation that we will all go on to do great things. A sense of comparison clouds over us, as many can´t do projects without comparing mine to his or hers. This is not calling anybody out, but just conveys the idea that we all want to be the best. Success should be individual, but collective at the same time. We should be working to advance our own skills, but not put anybody else down in the process. There’s no room for comparison as we all head down our own paths.
We are a young generation that works very hard for our future, however, this has its lasting effects. This culture is driven by competition, and a fight to the top. We have become perfectionists, stopping at nothing. Psychologist, Madeline Levine, found that 30 to 40% of 12 to 18-year-olds from comfortable backgrounds display worrying psychological symptoms, such as anxiety. The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a survey, Stress in America, and found that teens reported having higher levels of stress than adults, both of which are above the healthy level. Teens, however, believe that this stress does not have much effect on their physical health. We need to see these results as an indicator that we are not taking enough time for ourselves in order to relieve our stress.
While striving to succeed is a great thing, I think our students need to also take a step back and take time to relax once in awhile. Balance is key to success.
The National Sleep Foundation found that 36% of teens reported being tired as a result of stress. They suggest that students get the recommended that teens get the recommended 8.5 - 9.25 hours per night.
Stressed teens spend an average of 3.2 hours on the internet per day, according to APA. Those reporting low stress levels spend an average of 2 hours per day instead. Take an hour a day to unplug to do something you enjoy.
Success in America means you are expected to have financial, mental, and social stability. We have been conditioned to have one idea of success, and there´s an extreme amount of pressure to not fail. The actual definition of success is as follows:
¨a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity¨
To me, this means that success is an individual idea, as we all desire different ways of life. We can not live for what others expect us to do, but rather what we truly want in order to provide happiness. Success can be making your way to be the CEO of a huge company, but it could also be finding gratitude in spending each night with your family.
So, work hard and do your best, but do these things for yourself to work towards your own idea of success. Do not do them solely based on the pressure to succeed in our society.