Solon High School’s competitive environment causes mental health struggles in some students

Solon High Schools competitive environment causes mental health struggles in some students

Jessica White, Staff Writer

Many teenagers do not like to talk about their mental health, and the struggles that impact it. However, studies consistently show that school plays a big role in students’ mental health.

Many studies show that students’ mental health is connected to how good their GPA and test scores are. Students use their GPAs to measure their self worth, and many students have said that they will overwork themselves in order to ensure their grades are satisfactory.

Solon High School (SHS) freshman Sanvi Singh is taking almost all honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and stated that high school has had a detrimental effect on her mental health already.

“[My mental health is] kinda bad now because Solon is really competitive,” Singh said. “[The workload] just stresses me out a lot, and the classes are just really [difficult].”

Other SHS students relate to this statement, such as sophomore Zachary Lawrence and freshman Jordan Novak.

“I decided to do sports all year around, with no study halls, and two advanced classes, so my head’s in the mud right now,” Lawrence said.

Novak feels that teachers play a big role in the stability of their mental health as well.

“Teachers guilt trip students a lot,” Novak said. “If [students] don’t understand the material, [the teachers] make it seem like [the teachers] are doing everything right… and the students are just being ignorant.”

However, Chemistry teacher Melissa Orfin said that teachers try to help students a lot.

“The teaching part… it’s them being receptive to what you’re teaching because they don’t always want to do the work necessary,” Orfin said. “[Sometimes] they just expect it to pop into their heads… getting students to follow through and do their part [in the learning process], that’s the difficult part.”

Hannah Lewis, a current senior at SHS, said that the expectations are achievable, but at a cost.

“[The drop in my mental health was] because of overwhelming stress,” said Lewis. [I] just [had a] lot going on, my grades never dropped, it was just lots to do.”

Many students, including Lawrence, said that Solon puts a lot of pressure on them to succeed academically.

However, SHS faculty, including Principal Erin Short, said that the pressure students face is not just something that exists in Solon. She believes that Solon is as competitive as they need to be in order to reach the expected standards.

“Our standards are the states’ standards,” Short said. “And for our AP classes, they are the AP standards.”

Many SHS teachers, especially Orfin, said that the work they put into helping students goes unrecognized, and that they are given a bad reputation. In reality, there are teachers staying before and after school, advising clubs, and helping guided study-halls, which are all examples of teachers’ dedication to helping students.

Media Center, where kids go to study

The wellness center and mindfulness rooms are all examples of this, but not all students find these resources beneficial.

“Everyone I know is taking advantage of [the wellness center],” Lawrence said. “People just don’t care in class anymore, don’t do their homework, [they go to the wellness center during study hall instead of actually working,] I mean they just don’t care.”

While how parents raised their children, might play a role in their motivation and how much pressure they put on getting good grades, Short said that Solon’s community gives a lot of motivation.

“I think that there has been an expectation in this community, from parents, from our community, from our students, from our staff,” Short said. “It’s a shared expectation of excellence.”

Community does play an important role in peoples’ mental health, and it is not always positive.

“Kids and parents compare themselves to each other, or siblings,” Short said. “I think that can be a very toxic behavior, because we should really be comparing ourselves to our own standards of excellence.”