Academic pressure


Elisa Ventur

Kids face mounting pressure to live up to their potential everyday. Where is this pressure coming from? School, parents, or the kids themselves?

Neve Walker, Editor in Chief

School related stress is on the rise and students feel the weight of unrealistic expectations and academic pressure facing them today.

Kiera Rall ’23 is an active member of the Cathedral Catholic community participating in track and field, cross country, the Ambassador Program, National Honor Society, Science Honor Society and CSF, while also keeping up with her rigorous class load.  Rall believes that there is added pressure for students to keep up with their peers and exceed in many different ways.

“I’m literally drowning in schoolwork and second semester is getting really hard,” Rall says. “There’s so much pressure in general that I feel like it’s really stressful for us, especially this time of year.”

Although she can’t blame Cathedral specifically for the trend in the stress that students face, Rall recognizes that students around America all face this problem.

“I think that’s just what happens when you take your courses because we all want to get into college so it is eventually going to be really stressful,” says Rall.

But do students need to face tremendous stress and drown themselves in work just to get into college? According to Jacoba Urist, a writer for The Atlantic magazine, “getting into college is an uphill battle.” Because it is essential to get a good paying job with a college degree, more people want to go to college which makes it more competitive.

Anxiety is normalized for high school students. According to a UCLA study, as many as 60% of high school students face testing anxiety.

“If someone didn’t have any anxiety over tests or work I would be a little concerned for them,” says Rall.

Colette Cope, a college counselor at Cathedral, shares insight into what the cause for academic pressure is: “There is a heightened awareness around college and students want to go to college so then that becomes more competitive so students are not only pushing themselves in the classroom but also going the extra mile and being a difference between me and another student.”

But why do students feel the need to go to college? 

“It’s hard to get a job without a college degree, families are aware that it’s different now, ” says Cope, while also acknowledging the fact that trade work is now less common, and usually needs more schooling other than high school. “There’s extra pressure around education, I need a college degree and how will I get it.”

There is also a factor of peer pressure, and the insecurities students face about not being as good as their friends, “We like to compare ourselves to our peers,” Cope says.

Cathedral Catholic has been working with student representatives, teachers, parents, and administrators to create a task force called Challenge Success. The purpose of this task force is to support students to not feel pressure, or how to handle the pressure. 

With these ideas and organizations being implemented at Cathedral Catholic, there is now hope for future students to decrease the academic pressure that current students face today.