Opinion: How should student stress be handled?

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Opinion: How should student stress be handled?

Mehul Shrivastava, News Editor

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Early on in the school year, WA students took a survey that was meant to study habits and stress levels of students. The results that came in were slightly alarming, leading Principal Jim Antonelli to make the decision to include Westford Academy in Challenge Success, a program run by the Stanford Graduate School of Education.

As written on their website, Challenge Success wants to be able to work with schools to create a leaning environment that will prove to be less stressful for students, some methods being assigning less homework, starting the school day later, or having teachers coordinate when they have tests or projects due so they are not all piled up on one day.

While I feel Challenge Success is looking at a worthy cause with students’ best interests in mind, I also think that a lot of the main problems are not with the school, but rather the students themselves.

As a student, I can say that I have put a lot of academic pressure on myself when it comes to what classes I want to take. So many people have the idea that if you do not take all honors and AP classes, you will not get accepted into an Ivy League college, which is apparently the only type of acceptable school out there.

With this mentality, students are bound to overwork themselves to the point where their entire life is focused around academics extracurricular activities, leaving no time for family, friends, or a proper night of sleep.

It is definitely not true that grades do not matter, and at the same time it is not wrong for students to challenge themselves. However, I have met people who take excessive honors and AP classes just for the sake of saying that they take those classes on a college application. If there is a higher level class that fits into what a student is interested in, then by all means they should take it, because then they might look back in the future on their high school career and feel like that decision was worth it. However, taking a higher level class in a subject a student is not interested in would just be tedious and cause more stress than interest. And in the future they would look at the classes they took and wonder if that credit was really worth losing an hour of sleep every night. Schools have honors and AP classes, but that never took away the option to take a CP level course, and if there is a class that just does not agree with the student, why risk loss of sleep and stress?

Going off of that, if a student is disinterested in a subject, there is a high possibility of losing focus and missing information. Since higher level classes call for more in depth content, losing that focus or interest could potentially be detrimental to your grade, and then that credit really would do nothing but hurt grades. Standard classes do not call for as much information, making it easier and possibly having a higher grade and receiving a decent amount of credit.

School should not be just about making sure you get into college. Students should take honors or AP level classes when that subject interests them or they want to pursue it during their further education. Taking CP classes has never, ever meant that a student is not capable of anything in that subject. And when it comes to college, if you do not make it into an Ivy League but are accepted by state schools, you should be nothing less than proud.

So while Challenge Success has its best intentions, I feel that if they focus more on student mentality than the school’s methods, they would be more successful. With that being said, I am looking forward to seeing what the program has to offer and what WA would get out of it.