By Amy Pino

It’s no secret that being a teenager is hard, and comes with its own set of difficulties. It’s also no secret that school and the pressure to succeed are becoming larger percentages of these difficulties. While some stress may come from simply being a teenager and its inherent struggles, it is also necessary to investigate other causes.

Teenagers have shown signs of insomnia, depression, altered eating habits, substance abuse, and other dangerous stress-related symptoms. Could today’s society be putting too much pressure on teens? With hard work being the key to success, a theory tried and true, it is easy to see why so much pressure is put on students. But when does the hard work become too much and start to have a negative effect?

The pressure to succeed is becoming a more prominent issue for many students. Whether it’s pressure from parents, schools, or their own personal goals, it can sometimes lead to very negative effects. There is an increasing pressure for teenagers to be the student with the best test scores, most AP classes, and the most extracurricular activities. Much of this focus is directed on getting into the best colleges, because getting into the best colleges tends to be linked with the best success. This, however, may be a false and potentially harmful illusion. Going to the best college does not necessarily mean success; a great deal of success comes not only from the education one receives but what they decide to do with it.

Parents have shown concern with the economic state, and are worried that if their children don’t go the most elite high schools and colleges, they will have much less of a fighting chance for careers up against graduates from top-notch schools. While this may be a legitimate concern, it is also important to remember that there are many schools that offer some of the best education and the same degrees, and may not be your typical top school. It is important for parents to push their children to succeed, but it is also important that the fun of simply being a kid isn’t taken away.

While school can harbor creativity and lay the groundwork for students to find their passions, there is another end of the spectrum. There is a point when school can also be a roadblock, even causing students to lose their enthusiasm for learning. One area of this debate is the amount of homework students are issued. Homework is a necessary element of learning, refreshing material, giving students a chance to further understand their subject and develop independent learning skills. On the negative side, homework can become busy-work. Studies have shown homework to have positive returns until a certain amount, when it begins to backfire and cause students to lose valuable leisure time. So how much homework is the “right” amount? Most school districts suggest a reasonable amount of 30 minutes of homework in each class, allowing students to further understand each subject, but not taking away from some of that free time all teenagers need.

There is always going to be a certain amount of stress placed upon us, but it is important to make sure that does not get out of hand. It is also important that not too much stress is placed on teenagers. Certain precautions should and are being taken to limit the amount of stress and work young students have in their lives, so room is still left for leisure activities and fun. Who likes anxiety and stress anyway, especially when you’re a teenager and still trying to figure everything out?

School should always be an important factor in our lives and something we work hard at, but it shouldn’t overwhelm our lives and cause us stress when sometimes we just want to have fun!