• Melissa Thambiaiah

Growth Of Academic Stress: The Universal Downside Of Our Education System

All around the globe, students are given the privilege to attend school, requiring them

to take on a significant amount of responsibilities. Along with these responsibilities emerge

the topic of academic stress, often resulting in many different outcomes amongst young

learners. From elementary to university students, academic stress is undeniably prevalent

within our world, and it remains the most impactful issue for society’s pupils. Fortunately

however, there are various ways in which students are able to overcome academic-related

stress, including the utilization of mental health resources and coping mechanisms. Through

precise statistics and valuable information regarding academic stress, this article will unfold

the significance of recognizing this topic, its victims, the effects & outcomes, and how one

can conquer the battle between themselves and academic stress.

As back to school season begins to appear, every year so does the widespread

presence of academic-related anxiety. Between the expectations to adhere to, as well as the

internal and external pressures regarding school, students may start to undergo a sense of

distress. Moreover, there is a variety of diverse stressors resulting in academic stress,

including an unendurable amount of assignments, inefficient time management skills, and

homework deadlines. In addition to these school-related stressors, there are further external

pressures consisting of personal issues such as adapting to a new environment, as well as

financial issues which happen to emanate from student debt. To expand on the financial

aspect of academic stress, it is fairly common for post-secondary students to reach a severe

level of pressure in order to achieve the highest grades, accommodating their student debt. In time, these academic stressors result in a number of serious effects, revolving around their

physical and mental health.

For students attending school, their level of academic stress may vary based on the

difficulty of their lessons or their ability to comprehend a particular concept. Considering this

notion, the effects of this issue range on a scale based on its significance in the lives of

students. Moreover, there is a variation of effects that are given rise to academic stress.

According to a thorough article written by Chief Data Scientist Imed Bouchrika, American

teens ranked their rate of stress at an average score of 5.8 on a 10-point scale, whereas the

typical values for adults are 3.8. This statistic accurately unveils the fact that students are

more stressed than adults, meaning they are under more pressure within school, as opposed to adults within the workplace. Although schools across the world may be preparing students for the stress that comes along with working in a different environment, students are, sadly, obligated to sustain such a level of stress. Another significant effect of academic stress is the reality that students are losing an increasing amount of sleep. In fact, it is calculated that 40% of college students in America admit that they feel an inadequate amount of rest during the weekdays. Not only does this affect the outcome of their education, however, it also begins to have a major impact on the quality of their lives. In addition to an insufficient amount of sleep, it is conclusive that academic stress also results in poor performance. As students begin to put more pressure on themselves, the stress progressively consumes them which often leads to low grades and even failed examinations. Unfortunately, the effects of academic stress contribute to much greater issues, causing the lives of students to change.

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed multiple aspects of

our society including our economy and our lifestyles. One aspect in particular that has been

affected by the pandemic is our schooling system. During these unprecedented times,

students have been required to adapt to a new school system that takes place online or

in-person, with numerous modifications. Many individuals have found it difficult to adjust to

an unfamiliar, fast-paced environment with new learning models and this has led to an

increase in academic stress. Having to manage various courses with challenging barriers has

affected students’ abilities to succeed and achieve their academic goals. This has resulted in

the growth of internal pressures that intensify academic stress. Though the COVID-19

pandemic has improved significantly, its effects have changed the lives of students all around

the world.

Evidently, it is proven that there is a link between academic stress and the drastic

increase in depression and anxiety-related cases for students. According to an accurate

statement from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is conclusive that 80%

of students within the country report they feel overwhelmed at times while a total of 34% of

students experienced feelings of depression. This piece of evidence solidifies the fact that

academic stress certainly affects a large majority of students. The statement also brings light

to the fact that depression is a major factor that correlates with academic stress, considering

many students who endure this issue are also faced with depression. Unfortunately, the

terrible outcomes don’t stop there. Based on an informative article from the Biomedical and

Pharmacology Journal, it is registered that approximately 1.8% of students tragically

committed suicide as a result of examination failures. Academic stress has been distinguished as the most predominant cause of the suicide rates for students. Evidently, approximately 54.2% of surveyed mental health clinicians are certain that anxiety, depression and stress are three of the top concerns for American college student patients. In essence, academic stress has the potential to lead to catastrophically devastating events.

In some cases, students have proven to have the tendency to seek harmful substances

in order to allow them to perform better in school and, more importantly, to assist with the

management of academic stress. In many colleges and universities, students may begin to feel severely overwhelmed due to the complexity of their subjects and the significant workload. As a result of this, what is known as ‘Common Study Drugs’ are used to cope with academic stressors. The National Center for Health Research reveals that a national study of more than 10 000 students concluded that roughly 7% of these students had abused their prescription of study drugs. This statistic conveys the notion that a fairly significant amount of students are becoming more dependent on study drugs than ever before. Although there are different views on the topic of study drugs, it is indisputable that academic stress can lead to the use of study drugs, which is why it is crucial that students learn to cope through the use of healthier methods.

Students experiencing academic stress may feel that it is too difficult to find

stress-relieving techniques, as they are often faced with time-consuming responsibilities.

Fortunately, however, there are several ways in which students can cope with the detrimental

effects of academic stress. One of these coping mechanisms includes finding alternative

activities that allow students to be at ease. Whether it be enjoyable hobbies or exercising,

engaging oneself in a particular activity can reduce the likelihood of feeling stressed. Another way to manage academic stress is to develop healthy and effective studying methods. These methods consist of taking breaks in between assignments/classes in order to regain energy, and also taking advantage of office hours. Not only will this contribute to the improvement of grades, but it will also positively impact one’s mental health. In addition to helpful studying methods, utilizing a schedule can also increase productivity and may, potentially, result in more free time. Finally, incorporating mindfulness activities, such as meditation and journaling within the daily lives of students, can help relieve academic stress. Essentially these stress-relieving techniques can significantly influence the probability of enduring school-related stress.

Conclusively, it is indicative that the underlying issue, amongst each specific topic

mentioned, is academic stress and its role in the lives of students. A significant amount of

knowledge can be retained from the details and statistics provided. This includes information regarding the meaning behind academic stress, its effects on students, and COVID-19’s impact on the growth of academic stress. Additionally, the link between academic stress and depression/anxiety, the abuse of study drugs, and ways in which an individual can cope with academic stress. As it has been thoroughly conveyed, academic stress is continuing to evolve as it becomes more common within the lives of students. Countless issues can stem from academic stress, therefore, it is critical to acknowledge the severity of the matter and understand ways in which it can be handled. Ultimately, experiencing academic stress has the potential to be immensely demoralizing, and our society must work towards regulating the prevalence of the issue.