Stress. It’s something that most of us will suffer with at some point in our lives, and something that I feel we don’t talk about enough. I mean, it’s almost become something meaningless that sort of crops up in any general conversation about school or education – for example sometimes I’ll have a catch up with friends I don’t see often, and we’ll ask each other how college is going and just give a generic reply of “oh it’s okay, apart from the stress” but never elaborate on the stress, and I think it’s something that we should talk about more, because it can have huge impacts on the lives and health of young people.
It’s no secret that education has been reformed over the past 10, 20 and even 50 years, and I don’t know about other countries, but from my experience here in the UK, education has definitely become a lot harder, especially the examination system, and this has lead to a simultaneous increase in the amount of pressure and stress young people feel.
One of the hardest things about trying to cope with educational-related stress as a young person, is that it’s hard for our parents to sympathise with us and really understand what we’re going through, because certainly in the case of my parents, education was a lot different back then, and although they still had some exams, they can’t remember having to work constantly, or revise for a prolonged period before their exams. For example, sometimes I get so stressed about the amount of work to do, that I can’t physically do it because my stress starts to affect my mental well-being, and I just don’t have the energy to work, or can’t focus on anything, and end up in a state of panic. In these times, my parents suggest to just take a break, postpone my work and tell me for the 1 billionth time that I spend far too much time working than is necessary. For me this just makes the situation worse, as postponing work just means it keeps piling up and up until I’m stuck in a situation where I just have too much to do in a the amount of time I have, and telling me I work too hard just makes me agitated, because even though I do do a lot of work, there is still so much more I need to do, I am no where near on top of my studies and the work I am doing isn’t effective as there is so much information I need to know that I can’t physically cram it into my brain – I basically forget everything five minutes after revising it, and my parents don’t understand that.
I suffer from stress to the point where I constantly feel on edge, as if I’m about to snap at any moment, whether that be shouting at someone for no apparent reason or bursting into to tears. I’m sure I’m not alone, in fact, I know I’m not alone, because my friends and you guys are the only people who understand the stress we’re put through because of education, and we’re all too preoccupied with our own stress to help each other more than offering a few comforting words of “it’s okay, I understand”.
I think it’s important to talk about stress more, because then maybe (it’s a long shot but we can hope) the government will realise that the pressure that the education system puts on us is not healthy.
Honestly, I don’t know how long I can go on like this, stuck in this constant spiral of stress and fear. I don’t even know if I’ll pass this year or end up having to retake, I’m working as hard as I can, and as my parents say that’s all I can do, but the truth is it just. Isn’t. Enough. Not according to the new A Levels system anyway. And I know grades aren’t everything, but the constant fear of failing is always in the back of my head, because it’s been drilled into us for years that we need to get good grades.
I’m not really sure what I wanted to achieve out of this post, I just wanted to let you know that if you too are suffering from stress, then you are most certainly not alone in this.