SPF student stress level higher than national average


Gabriela MacPherson

graphic by Gabriela MacPherson

With a shrinking job market and competition to get into college at an all-time high, students today are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed. Besides being expected to keep up their grades, students are pressured to pile up on extracurricular activities and service work just to keep up with the rest of the crowd.
According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, teens nationwide reported having what they believe to be an unhealthy amount of stress; their reported average stress level even topped the average level reported by adults (5.8 for teens versus 5.1 for adults).
Adolescence has always been considered a difficult time, but the stresses that it now entails are actually surpassing the stresses of adults.
How does our high school stress climate compare to the national average? And what are our students stressed about?
According to a poll of 72 students across all grade levels, SPFHS’s average level of stress is 6.74 on a one to 10 scale (one representing the least amount of stress and 10 representing the most). Students across all grade levels also reported that schoolwork was their top worry when given the option of schoolwork, extracurriculars, personal responsibilities, or “other.” Besides schoolwork, seniors specifically cited college applications as a major source of stress.
Guidance Counselor Suzanne Wojcik offered some advice for students. “Students can manage their stress by managing their time, speaking with someone– because you can always speak with someone in school or outside of school– and really just letting themselves have fun,” said Wojcik. “Students get so caught up in all their activities, but it is important to leave time for fun.”