Walking through the halls of Monta Vista, I have grown used to certain snippets of conversation: “I’m taking so many APs this year!” “I don’t know if I can keep my 4.0…” “I’m seriously so tired and stressed…” As a rising junior, I’ve begun to realize that these snippets are not just the whining of a teenager; these complaints are the signs of a serious issue that has enrooted itself into many high school mindsets.
Since when did high school become a place to cram AP tests, take harder classes and pile on more extracurriculars, rather than a place to enjoy your teenage years? Since when did summers become a chance to “get ahead” from your peers rather than hang out with friends? Since when did we become so engrossed with the thought of getting into a “good” college and being successful that we’ve begun to lose our roots, our youth?
That is the real issue: our environment, manifesting from the pressure from parents, peers and ourselves to do well, overloads us with stress, forcing us to take classes and extracurriculars we don’t want simply to match our peers, which thus increases stress and pressures peers into a never-ending cycle.
Even the FUHSD school district has started to realize the problem, proposing later start times, fewer allowed AP tests, and other alternatives to relieve stress. But the real root of the issue can’t be solved with an hour delay in the school schedule or less testing; it must come from us. Our mindsets are the driving force of this pressure, and I think we are the only ones capable of truly shifting our mindsets. Therefore, although I understand I should still try my best in school, I’m determined not to forget to live a little, to enjoy high school and to make some irreplaceable memories.