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Academic, Social Pressure Can Be Stressful For H.S. Students

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Most people can remember the stress of going to high school. In this generation, children are growing up with many more things to worry about. One Triangle school system is planning a forum on high school stress.

The stress in high school can stack up quickly. At East Chapel Hill High, more than 60 percent of juniors and seniors are enrolled in advanced placement courses to get them ready for college. Most colleges love the idea, but not all parents do.

"I think the colleges as well as the high schools need to back off and think about what's going on," Duke professor Henry Greenside said.

Greenside, who has two kids in high school, said he is worried students are getting burned out before they ever reach college.

"You'll have students take three, four AP courses, plus two other courses, plus they're doing sports, maybe music, maybe choice. They're living a life no adult would willingly live," he said.

Greenside may have a point, but not all students agree. School counselors said student stress does seem to be on the rise and they said much of it is self-imposed.

"Students get anxious and overwhelmed," counselor Ruby Bugg said.

Counselors said students need to learn how to prioritize and set realistic goals while parents need to be on the lookout for signs of stress.

"In girls, you have eating disorders crop up and in all kids, you have different symptoms of depression," Bugg said.

"Everything is about creating a balance. If you don't have a balance, you're going to create a stressful environment," student Eric Dortas said.

One thing East Chapel Hill High School does to help alleviate stress is to pair freshman and transfer students with upper classmen to help ease the transition into high school. A

forum on student stress

is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at East Chapel Hill High.


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