We expect schools, professors, and parents to check in on their students and be aware of their mental health. Putting constant pressure on students to become adults without providing relief and periodic guidance to encourage them in positive ways is a toxic practice that can lead to academic disaster. In this article, we’ll explore the harmful effects of academic pressure on students and why you should care.
From Stress to Anxiety and Depression
College students are young adults with impressionable mindsets. When colleges and universities give too much value to performance and grades without addressing the other issues in their lives, students suffer.
Rigorous curriculums and overbearing workloads can lead to mental health issues. The most common in students and most other people are:
- Anxiety: Anxiety can emerge in students who have been pushed to their limit or worsen already present anxious tendencies. It can lead to panic attacks, social withdrawal, and isolation and impede students’ daily functioning. Some students might even feel unable to leave their rooms if it is left untreated.
- Depression: Depression can sometimes be hard to detect since it can look different from person to person. If left unchecked, it can silently affect a student’s life. High-functioning depression is usually hard to recognize since a student might not display obvious symptoms. For severe cases, lethargy, a lack of joy or energy to do anything, is usually present.
Excessive or harmful substance use could be another sign that a student struggles with mental health. While anxiety, depression, and substance use are the most common issues associated with the stress of academic life, many others exist. If you’ve experienced any of these or are concerned about your mental health, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek help from a professional.
Or If you have friends you believe have anxiety, depression, or substance problems, you should try to share your concerns with them and encourage them to seek help.
Leads to Burnout
When schools don’t allow room for students to take wellness breaks, they put their well-being at risk, potentially setting them up for burnout.
Burnout can lead to depression or anxiety, but it is typically easier to treat since an extended rest period can do much to relieve it. If schools exert too much pressure on students to perform without healthy and natural pauses, burnout can result.
In the end, burnout will adversely affect students’ academic life. Instead of letting them reach that point, schools should encourage periodic breaks and rest time. Recovery and rest help students get back on track more quickly.
When schools and parents pressure students to be high performers and devalue those who don’t measure up, they impact students’ self-esteem. While pushing someone to do better can have beneficial effects, it is never right to humiliate or shame students who do poorly.
Schools should implement productive and empathetic ways to encourage struggling students. They can still push them to do better, but with the right strategies, they can do so without harming their self-esteem.
Schools can provide counselors to offer support and give stressed students a chance to vent. Venting gives them a healthy out to express negative emotions. Colleges should also provide tutoring options to help students who fall behind catch up on their studies.
There is nothing wrong with healthy competition. Challenges and healthy competition can encourage students and fire them up in a positive way. However, if a school puts too much importance on winning and pressures students in unhealthy ways, it can lead to toxic behavior.
Toxic behavior may include cheating, bullying, spreading rumors and gossip, and generally being cold and callous—in other words, trampling on others to get what you want. As we’ve stated, healthy competition is a great teacher, but encouraging students to compete in unhealthy ways will breed toxic behavior.
And while a level of competitiveness may help in some professions, teamwork and harmony should also be prioritized and nurtured. Most students will probably end up in companies where teamwork is valued more than individual competitiveness.
Getting good grades is important, and academic success can lead to great opportunities. However, if grades and academic success are all that matter in an institution, it can be harmful to their students. Success and personal achievement should only be part of the academic journey and not the sole intent of it. Colleges and universities should use a balanced approach to encourage students.
We hope this article has shed some light on the seriousness of this issue. Mental health is as important as physical and emotional health. Schools must ensure they’re cultivating a positive environment so students can work and maintain their well-being. Students shouldn’t have to compromise their mental health to the point of misery but should be encouraged to care for themselves and rest when necessary.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
Samantha Green is a mental health advocate and writer who is passionate about raising awareness of the importance of mental health in educational institutions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education. Samantha has spent years studying the impact of academic pressure on students’ mental health and has written numerous articles on the subject. Her articles aim to provide insights into how academic pressure can lead to mental health issues and offer practical solutions to help students cope with stress and anxiety. As a part of her advocacy, Samantha has also partnered with an essay writing service to provide students with support and guidance on managing academic pressures while prioritizing their mental well-being. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys yoga and spending time in nature.
Photo by energepic.com: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-sitting-in-front-of-macbook-313690/
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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