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Pressures of Life: Post High School

As high schoolers, the looming pressure and unknown of what comes next is constant. And as someone who is indecisive, that is scary on a deadly degree. Speaking from the perspective of someone who transferred to North Scott from a high school where college and success was the main source of everything we did, pressure about this is not a new thing to me. Students would spend days studying, stack their applications with activities, or beat themselves up for receiving a 97% on a test. Doing anything but going to a top college was laughable. 

“Societal norms and what teachers and administrators teach us about our grades and how they need to be good and put all focus on school to be perfect so we can be successful (it's so untrue).” -- Anonymous

I’m sure this was a great environment for many students. Maybe the pressure was like a fire lit under them that inspired them to do their best and go above and beyond. But for others, it really was just something that made us question our worth. Separating our academic success from our own personal success became a foreign concept. I fell into that party, along with many of my peers. 

I realize I’m not the only one who feels that way. NYU actually put out a study stating that over half of respondents stated they feel depressive symptoms and anxiety on a daily basis thinking about the future. So, what is there to do? Is there anything we CAN do to improve these stats or ease high schoolers minds?

I decided to turn to the student body about this. After all, who knows more about our needs than us? I received an overwhelming 120 responses, which really shocked me! I asked several questions along the lines of what do you want to do after high school? What are your specific goals? Do you feel options about post high school are talked about? What pressure is there? And so on and so forth. It was really interesting to see the wide variety of dreams and ambitions everyone held for their future. Ranging from college, to traveling Europe, going into the military, even saving up for a new mattress. 

Going from somewhere where it seemed as though the path was already chosen for you, it was really inspiring to see everyone pursuing unique things because it is truly what they want. However, many responses weren’t as sure about their plans. The question of do you feel pressure to know what you want to do, had an overwhelming 47% yes rate. One anonymous student states “ There is built in pressure to do something amazing with your life. You look around and see others achieving great things and then feel bad about yourself for not being more like them. It can be hard when you wake up and sometimes already feel behind. If everyone else is accomplishing things, shouldn't I? (pressure/anxiety sucks).” They nailed it head on. Another response

“People tell me that I should not go to an in-state school because that is easy and too cheap, and with my grades, I need to go to an Ivy League school, but I don't want to.” The responses varied with positives and negatives. I think that this form was a way for students to get some thoughts out of their heads and some weight was taken off. I want to thank everyone for filling it out if you did. One thing remained consistent throughout all the responses. And that was this; the individuality. 

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