Students test grades are 100%, but is their mental health at a 100%?

An argument for time off

As students, we have to go to school and study. On top of that, we partake in sports, clubs, and outside of school activities like jobs so we can make our own money. The routine of going to school begins in pre-school, and becomes more and more complex as we mature. How does this routine affect the peace of mind of a human being? Schoolwork can become stressful to students because on top of going to one class, doing worksheets for homework in that class, and studying for a test the next class on that work, they are doing it for at least six other classes, while also being an athlete, having a job, etc. It does not end there for a student. Teenagers deal with puberty, negative thoughts and self- doubt leading to depression and anxiety, at-home situations, illness, and many other varieties of conflicts happening outside of the classroom. As stated by Dr. Sawa, “The adolescent brain is at a unique stage of development. It is a time when the brain is very sensitive and in the process of forming its wiring network.” It is important to have peace of mind as a student because adolescent stress can cause major changes in adult brains.

Mental health days are necessary

Other schools have “mental health days”. “Lawmakers in two states have recently recognized the importance of the mental health of their students by allowing them to take sick days just for that. The measures “empower children to take care of their mental health,” one expert said. A student himself even voiced his approval: “Dealing with anxiety throughout high school has always left me tired, exhausted up against some weeks, and the difference one day makes is honestly life-changing.” His thoughts go to show that we all go through the same stress, and to not be afraid of this stress because there are ways to go about such situations. An anonymous student from Lauralton Hall talks about their policy on mental health days: “If you don’t want to come to school because you are under a lot of stress because of so many things going on and feel like a robot doing its school routine without any emotion, you can say you’re taking a mental health day without getting penalized.”

The truth is that when humans, specifically teens, are in pain, they act out. Students can feel alone when their pain is not recognized and may not know how to address the situation. Sometimes a student just needs a break and will not do their work, or they do not address what is causing them to do so, diving into their work as a way to feel successful, or turning to drugs or alcohol outside of school.  While they may eventually figure out how to work this out, these students deal with breakdowns and panic attacks in the meanwhile. As excelsior women, we should not have to breakdown if we are not perfect, if we cannot finish the overload of work we are obliged to do, and most importantly, if we are not just simply asked if we are okay.

The Balance

There are ways to deal with stress as a student, and to not let it manifest into your destruction. Apart from clubs at school, we have our friends that we can confide in because they feel the same way we do. Every class participates in a retreat, but seniors also get a breath of fresh air when they go on Kairos.  It is a time to forget about the real world and focus only on loving yourself, others, and God. Conferences like “Next Gen”, or camps like RYLA are amazing outside-of-school activities that form a unique environment to talk about things that are not spoken about in school or at home, or even personally comprehended when under stress. Though God does not give us anything we cannot handle, with stress from school, we do not want to lose our own happiness in trying to be the best of the best. Taking time out is necessary for everyone’s mental health.