Should Learning Be This Stressful?

Before I start this, just a disclaimer: I am very grateful for my education, and I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have in this life. I really am. I’m not being a brat here, I’m just shedding light on some terrible truths about school for this generation of students. I

don’t regret going to school, or enrolling in college. I just wish some things were really different. I have this hunger to learn everything I can, but this overbearing fear from what I’ve encountered.

The bottom line is, school is just way too stressful for the average student. Approaching four+ classes a semester to be considered a full-time student in college, kids should be excited to learn.

One of the great things about college is that you can pick your major and study things that actually interest you. It all seems great, until the ridiculous amount of work is thrusted upon you. Okay, obviously in school, you’re required to do work. But the workload today is just unmanageable.

Apart from taking notes in class and actually going through the vital learning process, students are expected to take multiple exams, pop quizzes, write papers, finish 100+ page reading assignments, online assignments, etc. The list goes on. It probably sounds like I’m being dramatic, so here, take my personal experience.

As an English Major, my classes aren’t typically exam heavy or memorization heavy, but require a lot of reading and multiple papers. I chose my major, and I’m okay with that. Being the type of student who would rather write than take a test, I approached these classes without fear. But still, I’ve found myself many semesters writing a paper a day, having the few rare exams to study for, and trying to cram ten chapters of a book or two in an hour before I fall asleep. Let’s get this straight: I’m really not a procrastinator. With the amount of anxiety I have just as a person, as a student, I like to have my work done. I

f the weekend starts and I know I have an assignment due Monday morning, there’s no way it’s leaving the back of my mind. My stomach won’t allow an appetite until I finish. With that being said, there’s just such an excessive amount to do for class. And once I do finish a paper that I worked really hard on, or studied for hours for an exam, I don’t always get the results I want. Sometimes I’ll get a bad grade, and for what? I gave it my all, shouldn’t that be enough? One of the worst things in school is giving the effort, but not seeing the results. Why should I even try?

The same goes for every major. I mean, if it’s not a 10 page paper a student is frantic to finish, it’s an extremely complicated math exam or 5 page speech for public speaking. I get that college is serious, and I do take it seriously. But students should not be miserable trying to get through it. If students take the time and face the risks in choosing a major, going to class and learning, why should the workload continue to grow and why should students be penalized if they don’t always understand everything?

Learning should be the most important thing, but nowadays, kids would rather memorize something for an exam and toss it out of their minds the next day, or bullshit through a paper to save time for another assignment, rather than enjoy the path they’re choosing. There’s too much stress to live a normal life.

Just when the relief rushes through you that you’ve finished your theory paper on some book you didn’t even fully understand, you realize you missed a call from your boyfriend, or missed dinner with your parents, or missed the finale of your favorite TV show. It’s the simple pleasures in life we miss when we’re stressing over a reading check quiz we might not even have the next day. For me personally, it’s really hard to juggle everything I want and need to, and I know this applies for the average student as well.

Everyone wants to ace their big exam, but everyone also wants to binge watch the new season of House of Cards on Netflix. Everyone wants to go to that extra credit opportunity lecture to bounce back from that failed exam, but everyone also wants to go to the bar on a Friday night to let off some stem from the strenuous week.

It’s come to the point where the majority of students I know actually hate school. I’ve never heard of any college student excited to go to a lecture, or even let out anything other than a sigh of total dread when asked what class they have next. When asked, usually, college kids say they love college because of the social life– the parties upon parties. Is this really what school should be like?

The only highlight of the week being the last vodka shot that blacks you out so you don’t have to remember how badly you’re failing a class? Don’t get me wrong, I love to go out and have fun, but I should love going to school, too.

Overall, I might seem like I hate college, but of course I don’t hate it. It has its ups, it sure has its downs, but the amount of severe anxiety that has emerged from it is something I’ll never forget.

The level of undying stress, sleepless nights, and panic attacks has really changed me as a person. I love to learn, I strive to be a smarter person, but the doubt, misery, and pure panic has held me back from a lot. It’s truly upsetting because so many students feel the same way, not just in college, but in high school too.

The pressure is unbearable, and it’s something we’ve sadly all learned to live with.

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