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One of the biggest issues that I see teenagers facing now is the apathy many show toward their education. Many of them have serious issues going on in their livesMy-getting kicked out of the house, physical, verbal and/or sexual abuse, poverty and etc.-so education doesn't have a lot of relevance for them. My fear is that by the time many of them realize education is or was important, it might be too late to make any changes.
I think that the stress on teens also depends on where they live. We live in a rural area and the problems teens have here is far different than those of teens in the big cities. We lived in New Orleans for a short time and the issues causing stress for those teens was far different than those faced here.
Oddly enough, two sides of the same coin are another stressor for teenagers--both being noticed, and not being noticed. For some, being "seen" is so important they will do anything to have that happen. For others, being "seen" is so terrifying that they get stressed at the thought of things like making presentations or attending dances.
Anyone who has had complexion problems as a teen will probably agree that breakouts and acne were terribly stressfu at a time when physical appearance was of such importance. Also, any tall person knows, too, how awkward one is when going through the big growth spurt as a teen.
For me, all my stress as a teen was social and athletic (this was back in the early to mid '80s). At least at my HS, there was little to no pressure about getting in to "name" colleges. I think that my HS had only 1 AP class at all.
So, for me, my stresses revolved around my social standing (am I going to be able to get a girlfriend, how should I go about trying, etc) and sports (am I going to make this team, how much playing time am I going to get...)
Interestingly, what I was most stressed out about in high school seems to be the same with my students, and that was and is balancing everything. I look back on high school (and my grades) and wonder now that I'm a teacher why I didn't make straight A's. But I remember why. I was too busy. It turns out, high school hasn't changed that much. It seems like most of my college bound students are juggling homework, projects and grades (in honors and AP classes), 2 or 3 sports/clubs a year, family, friends, church or volunteer service, and some, a job. Most of my students get an average of 6 hours of sleep a night. They are perpetually tired, often sick, and always complaining of not having enough time to complete everything.
On top of all of this, for the college bound, there seems to be the constant pressure to be better, do more, achieve more, and compete with everyone else. I've conducted several casual "raise-of-hand" surveys of my classes, and "no time to everything" or "busy-ness" seems to be the most common stress complaint.
As far as coping goes, I think most of my students just push through. Many use music or technology (Facebook, texting, etc.) as a means of escape, but on the whole, I think most students don't cope. They just work and push through until they are done.
Well personally, I get extremely stressed with all the work I get. I'm in a couple of AP's right now and those stress me out incredibly. I cope by getting my work done early so I get sleep.
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