Commentary: The pressure’s on

Duncan Nicols, staff writer

  When you think of Granite Bay High School (GBHS) from an academic standpoint, you most likely think of the “high achieving” record the school has. But is this goal of academic greatness backfiring onto students and creating an unhealthy environment for them?

  Assistant principal Jessup McGregor shared some of his thoughts on the topic. McGregor mentioned that education is very important in our lives, but so is our life outside of school.

  “(Extracurriculars and hobbies) are critical to our health,” McGregor said.

  He also gave his input on the current education system.

  “There is value in much of what we do, but I would love to see a system in which content is more closely tied with the actual life experiences students will have, as well as the skills demanded by the various industries our graduates will pursue. It’s hard to prepare students for a future we don’t understand using a model based on past needs.” McGregor said.

  Changing the courses and focus of subjects and maybe even the entire system will take stress off of students and also prepare them for their future.

  Here at GBHS there is an automatic standard of getting high grades and not accepting anything less than the targeted A or B. This fosters greater competition between students, and there’s a mentality that if they get lower than those they must not be good enough.

  The stress students get from school is tremendous.

  Some students barely have a social life because they focus so much on school.

  Two years ago, the valedictorian for the senior class wrote his graduation speech on the school system as he criticized it and how it affected him personally. He explained that it ruined his social life.

  Pressure on academics for students also affects mental health.

  Depression has become a common diagnosis among teens and college students.

  “The odds of adolescents suffering from clinical depression grew by 37 percent between 2005 and  2014” according to a Johns Hopkins study. There are other factors like social media and social life that affect mental health, but school is a major factor.

  So do schools really take students into consideration before making the school look good? Not always. There needs to be changes made for the sake of students. Mental health from school pressure has been affecting students for so long and it’s only getting worse. We need to start bringing up programs to help mental health of today’s youth and change the curriculums of schools.