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School stress starts to take toll on junior high students

Annetta Conway goes over homework with her fourth period class. The Seventh grade class listens as she talks about the problem.
picture by Madison James
Annetta Conway goes over homework with her fourth period class. The seventh grade class listens as she talks about the problem. Photo by Madison James

A typical evening for ninth grade honors student Sadie Rhyner consists of two hours of gymnastics practice after school at the high school fieldhouse. After this comes two or more hours of homework that she must complete before getting to bed at a reasonable time so she can get up and do it all again the next day.

Today’s society heavily focuses on success, and in particular, the schools of today’s society. In fact, school ranks as the highest stressor in an average teen’s life. According to, over 68% of high school students stress about school in one way or another. As the year starts to draw closer to its halfway point, more and more students have found it harder to keep up with everything that goes on in the school.

Between homework, sports practices and after school clubs, many teens are finding it impossible to make time for anything not school-related. Nights once spent hanging out with friends start to turn into stressful evenings spent going from one practice to the next, while time once used to catch up on sleep has turned into time spent cramming for the history finals.

“Socially, it (the impact of homework) is pretty big,” ninth grade tennis player Kailyn Pater said. “On weekends, my friends will be like, ‘Hey, wanna go hang out or whatever,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I have two hours of homework in just one subject.’ ”

Students of the junior high have started to feel the pressure from teachers and coaches to do well in all that they do. Many have started to develop their own ways to help cope with this pressure and balance their academics and extracurricular activities.

“I usually take relaxing days,” Rhyner said. “I take breaks in between homework and do gymnastics to get my mind off of it.”

Pater has also come up with her own way to cope with the stress of homework and tennis practice.

“I usually try to get some of it (homework) done before my activities, and then I’ll finish up afterwards,” Pater said. “I’ll stay up as late as I have to.”

Although the students of the junior high have found ways to manage their time more effectively, sometimes the stress of school starts to affect them anyways.

“I get really stressed out sometimes,” Rhyner said.

Rhyner feels that her gymnastics practice on top of her extensive schoolwork causes unwanted anxiety, although she does want to participate in as much as she can in order to remain well-rounded.

“I think that the teachers should give less (homework) on certain days,” Rhyner said. “I feel like they don’t really give us enough time to do things, because everybody works at a different pace. If we go too fast, we don’t get anything out of it.”

In addition to homework and extracurricular activities, teens today feel that the number of tests they have to take causes unwanted stress in their lives.

“There are way too many tests,” eighth grader Cameron Fasick said. “I think it’s too much.” Fasick, who participates in football and track, spends much more time on studying, as well as on his homework, than he previously did in seventh grade.

“On some nights, (I spend) an hour,” Fasick said. “We do enough work in school, we shouldn’t have to do it after school.”


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