Maria Pătcaș, 10B
Pressure can be defined in many ways depending on personal experience and other criteria which refer to whether you are acquainted with it or if you are the one inflicting it on yourself or others. Scientifically speaking, stress is a form of pressure which takes place within the mental stability of a person, brought to bear on the emotional equilibrium of any human being.
Nowadays, this topic is well discussed in almost every domain and everyone has heard of the consequences it has taken on people of all ages. Let’s talk about the pressure put on students and how teenagers can deal with this sort of issue.
Firstly, this type of pressure represents a stress factor for most students in our school. People are tired, worn out and start feeling like they can’t take everything that’s being thrown at them with full force. Our school keeps this prestigious status by excelling in various areas, the students bringing back hundreds of awards over the course of a school year. What our pedagogues fail to realize is that by putting so much mass on our minds in almost every subject, it can only lead to overwhelming experiences when dealing with the emotional damage it brings and an overload of anxiety that is not necessary at this age. Students have to learn how to prioritize what they love over concerns that bring them sorrow. Taking time from our day to organize ourselves regarding our passions and being able to fit the activities that motivate us and help us relax is the only plausible and healthy way of coping with the stress induced by homework and the concept of succeeding in life presented by our tutors and parents.
Moreover, on the topic of personal success, educators, but sometimes parents as well, tend to over-exaggerate the importance of grades and achievements before reaching adulthood, but the true definition of success can only be perceived from a personal point of view, as it changes regarding each different personality and approach on life. We’ve asked some pupils from different classes whether they feel this daily anxiety regarding courses and where it comes from for them. Most of their answers consisted in expressing their stressful emotions which come from teachers. Out of seven people, two of them said that the pressure definitely comes from their own parents, and one of them told us that it is their personal judgement and wish to keep working harder every day and reach a certain level of excellence that brings the most stress. Another student also said that they feel this tension differently from each side. The strain induced by teachers was often described as persistent, one student stating that whenever they get a bad grade or do something wrong during class, they constantly feel viewed as less than the others and on some kind of probation.
We advise students to worry about reaching a certain point in their life from early ages with lack of confinement, so as not to feel any sort of restraint over your liberties and the things that you believe benefit you. You can start planning ahead, doing your research and trying to explore the world of your own future and finding new interesting career paths over the course of your high school years, doing a little at a time. Pro and con lists also help a lot during these challenging experiences, but also finding reliable sources.
In some ways, the pressure can stimulate pupils to reach their true potential, while others find it prodigious and absurd. I personally have heard and experienced intense feelings caused by exhaustion and helplessness that some teachers, after inducing, forget to diminish or think is a normal occurrence and move on. The anxiety produced to motivate students needs to be doubled by encouraging messages, appreciation towards the children and positive feedback even for acts that may be considered trivial, which in other’s eyes make a difference and uplift or inspire the student to keep working. Pressure can work for ones who react well to negative motivation, but many find it overbearing and hard to keep up with.
Concerning the subject of whether “cozy” teachers are beneficial for the pupils’ experience or not, it does depend on what the terms’ meaning is for each individual. If cozy is seen as hard working and willing to put effort in what they do to educate young people, but also relaxed and prepared to listen to the needs of who they teach for, then this is, in my opinion, the definition of what we need. We want to keep our excellence, but at the same time feel supported and for them to also understand our needs and emotions.
Secondly, the level of anxiety that is being placed on everyone right now regarding the pandemic, that is finally looking like it’s coming to an end, but also the atrocious acts and bombing happening in Ukraine and the threat of a nuclear war can also be overwhelming and teachers tend to forget that everyone is dealing with these emotions, including students who have never experienced such fear and don’t necessarily know what to do or how to reach for help. We’ve had multiple discussions with our friends and classmates, sharing our experiences from outside of this war. Some said that they couldn’t sleep very well, others had anxiety or panic attacks that they didn’t know how to stop or to prevent. It is important that teachers show their support and build a safe and welcoming environment and talk about this issue in a serious manner, helping students learn about the situation and how to cope with it in a healthy way. We’re not suggesting avoiding the subject or not recognizing the altitude of the circumstance, but we do try to get the message out that a happy and caring educational habitat can increase the level of attention during classes and can reduce feelings of fright and can help with the mental health of the students.
For those who feel overwhelmed, you might want to try doing breathing exercises, psychologists recommend (Here’s a YouTube link for you to try some breathing exercises: https://youtu.be/odADwWzHR24). That way, the emotional part of the brain that controls the sensations of fear, stress and panic can take a break and switch to the logical part of the brain to focus on your tasks, as it is useless to try doing them in a state of distress. Also, it is important to prioritize a healthy environment outside of classes. Try building empowerment in your community while hanging out with friends and classmates and be as considerate and understanding with others as possible, because you might have this exhilarating stress in common and this way, you create a personal development group in which you learn to grow and deal with anxiety together.
We hope these tips will help you find balance and peace from within yourself and we wish you all the strength in the world, and whatever your position with your mental health might be at the moment, don’t be afraid to reach out for help and keep fighting to restore a healthy stability.