Is There Too Much Pressure on Students to Succeed?

Mike Tortora

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In our modern age, it is a dog eat dog world, survival of the fittest, where only those who are willing to get some blood on their hands will prosper. Students are pressured by their parents and peers to maintain good grades, score high on the SATs and other standardized tests, and get into a prestigious college so they can go on to carry the financial burden of student debt while they search for a job capable of supporting a family. Success will never be easily attainable by everyone, it is something that requires dedication, perseverance, and sacrifice – qualities not possessed by everyone. Students are put under overwhelming pressure to succeed in their academics because without things like a college degree, success is seemingly out of reach. Under intense pressure, students experience high levels of stress and depression as their lives are consumed by school. According to an NYU study, about 49% of students reported feeling stressed on a daily basis and 31% reported feeling somewhat stressed. In order to lift the stress off of the vast majority of students, we as a society need to redefine success and make it equally attainable to all those of all social classes, all racial groups and all genders. I am not saying that we should make it easy to be successful, because there is no way to do that besides just handing people millions of dollars. Employers need to be able to look past academic records and college degrees, and job applications need to be reformed so skills can be evaluated not by just looking at a resumé. In doing this, students would not be put under intense levels of pressure to maintain outstanding grades because their college degree is not the only thing that defines them in the eyes of an employer. In doing this, other essential life skills can be focused and young adults will graduate high school as a well rounded individual prepared to face the world.