Getting good grades in school, making friends and maintaining a social life is hard. Add on top of that family and home life, and things may feel impossible. If you are currently feeling this way, you are not alone. School can be a real challenge to our mental wellness. School is also a place where many young people encounter drugs and alcohol for the first time. It takes a lot to navigate cliques and to deal with bullies. But know that there are strategies, resources and groups out there to help you make it through. And if you are reading this right now, you are taking the right steps to turn things around in your life. You got this!
All the Pressure
For some of us school can mean one thing: pressure. Either from our families, teachers, coaches or even ourselves, dealing with the pressures that come with school can increase our anxiety and stress and can impact the rest of our lives. There are many coping techniques you can use to help your stress and anxiety levels at schools. It is important to have open and honest conversations with those you trust (a family member, a friend or a teacher), as talking about what is going on can be the first step in finding long-term solutions. Remember, your feelings are valid and it is never helpful when someone tells you to “chill out” or that what we are feeling is “not such a big deal.” Find someone to reach out to in your area on our Find Support page.
I’ve Got Other Things to Worry About
Sometimes the pressure we feel that impacts our school life is not coming from school at all. It is not uncommon for youth and young adults to have added responsibilities in the home, which can make school less of a priority. Perhaps we work full-time on top of going to school because we have to help out at home. Maybe we are the main care givers for our family. There are many things that can happen in our lives that can push school on the back burner, which can lead us to being chronically absent, falling behind and even failing. When school is not a priority, it can make it that much easier to drop out. Finding productive ways to balance home, school and your personal life is possible, but sometimes it means we have to ask for help. Others may not know about the additional responsibilities we have, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone who understands.
Dealing with bullies at school can seem near impossible. Bullying can be both direct (occurs while you are around), indirect (occurs while you are not around, such as spreading rumors) and can even happen online through cyberbullying. Bullying impacts the way we feel, our relationships with others, our self-image and worth, and our right to feel safe in spaces such as schools, community organizations, etc. It can be frustrating because sometimes adults do not see or downplay what we are experiencing. Talking to a trusted adult regarding your school or organization’s policies toward bullying is a great first step to addressing this issue head-on. Schools should have clear ways to address bullying through their policies and procedures. Schools should be environments that are safe and supportive for everyone.