Competition leaves today’s teens more stressed than ever


By Hayley Brener, Features Editor

While teen stress has always been apparent, teens today are experiencing increased pressure and competition among classmates. This generation is expected to meet higher standards, especially in high school and college.

“There’s literally never a day I’m not stressed,” junior Hayley Scheer said. “My school work keeps compounding and I feel like I can’t escape it.”

According to a Washington Post study conducted in 2014 of 1,018 teens for the 83 percent of teens said school was a significant source of stress. Students face the immense pressure of needing to be involved in everything while keeping up good grades. Some are giving up extracurriculars and enjoyable activities to solely focus on their school work. According to USA Today, children and teens in Generation Z spend half as much time playing outdoors than they did in the 1980s.

“Its really difficult to balance field hockey and lacrosse and my schoolwork,” sophomore Cameron Kinsella said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m falling behind because I get home late from practices and still have to start my homework and start studying and I’m exhausted.”

Kinsella has been on both the varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams, and has been since freshman year. While these sports can also serve as a stress reliever for her, she said she’s still overwhelmed by the amount of work she has to come home to after long practices.

Competing against one another becomes a huge stress factor among classmates. Students worry that if they do not pack their schedules with AP classes they will fall behind their high achieving classmates. According to U.S. News, in 1998, just under a million AP exams were administered. In May 2017, 4.9 million exams were administered to the College Board. More students today are taking challenging classes than they were 20 years ago in school.

“I keep seeing all these juniors and seniors in really difficult classes,” freshman Joe Lombardo said. “They seem like they are really stressed out.”

Generation Z students are expected to perform at a much higher level than past generations. According to Business Insider in 2017, the students admitted to Harvard in 1997 faced a 12.5 percent acceptance rate while students today are challenged by a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. While this school is very challenging to get into, higher standards are also present in a majority of colleges in the U.S.
Since the No Child Left Behind act was passed in 2002, public schools increased the amount of standardized tests and made them mandatory. Although the act was replaced with the Every Child Succeeds act in 2015, standardized testing is still mandatory.

“Standardized tests are a horrible way to see how smart a person is,” junior Brooke Ivler said. “They just add to my every day stress and do not reflect students’ efforts.”