The Irony of North Allegheny and Stress


Hale Health and Safety

At North Allegheny, students perform exceptionally. In fact, North Allegheny is the 15th best school in Pennsylvania. But, behind the incredible test scores, and GPAs, there are hundreds of stressed students.

From the time that kids are in elementary school, students are slammed with the importance of the PSSAs and test scores, even though, most of the time,  the test scores do not directly affect the student in any way. Most tests at this age are only taken to benefit the school district, sometimes at the expense of the children’s happiness.

 To most, it seems backwards to make children at school fear failure when, most of the time, failure is what makes people great, but here at North Allegheny, this backwards mindset is the norm. Failure teaches children lessons, and those lessons will impact that child forever. With fear of failure among these young children, the first feelings of anxiety and stress are implanted in their young, impressionable minds.

At North Allegheny, the school district preaches their “No stress!” philosophy in health classes, and assemblies, but in one health class, the students had to do a project on the effects of stress on their bodies. Ironically, the students were given a class period and half a class period to work on the poster with an assigned group. This actually ended up stressing the students out, and caused  anxiety within the class, however, anxiety throughout student bodies is not an uncommon feeling, at NAI, hundreds of sheets of homework are handed out each day. 

I probably know about 20 people with anxiety.”

— Ava Malfregeot

Annalise Arnold and Ava Malfregeot, both freshman, said, “I have probably an hour to two hours today, that is pretty normal.” Malfregeot continues, “If you want to average it, it is probably two hours everyday.” To most, this seems completely ridiculous considering how intense sports and hobbies are at this age. 

Arnold is a competitive dancer who says there is at least 3 hours each night that she cannot do her homework. “It isn’t that I do not want to get started on my homework, if anything, I do. I definitely do not want to stay up till 12 o’clock studying. What do teachers expect me to do, just bring my homework and start working in the middle of dance?” These late nights and stressful situations cause students to feel anxiety, and more people seeing it first hand within their friend groups. 

Within most people’s peer groups, the topic of anxiety and stress is often spoken of. Students take to their friends to ask for help, instead of seeking professional help. Malfregeot says, “I probably know about 20 people with anxiety.” In past generations, the school work was much less intense and far less people had mental health issues. The reasoning behind this is that students don’t understand that their feelings are valid, and real, and the school system has not evolved in a positive way.

 Stress is just what students feel everyday, so when it becomes too much, it seems odd to complain about their everyday feeling. The overwhelming amount of school related stress, torments teens instead of them enjoying their life while they can. The hours and hours that are spent studying and doing pointless homework, ruins students’ social lives.

 The generations ahead of us joke about the anti-social gen z, but in reality, the teens social time is crushed by homework and tests. This is mostly because lots of teachers cannot always understand where the line between beneficial homework, and unnecessary homework is.

Another common occurrence, is the selfishness of teachers and their specific class. Teachers can often come across in a way that seems like they do not care about how much work you already have, and that only their class matters. With this mentality, each teacher assigns excessive amounts of work, simply because they do not realize how much homework is already handed out. 

 In the evening, most people are relaxing and enjoying dinner, but for many teens, this time is spent studying and completing assignments. When a student is pummelled with tests the next day, hours can be spent studying for each individual class, and this time often stems into late hours at night.

 The time at night that students spend studying, causes them to be extremely sleep deprived as well. Imagine going to sleep after a long night of homework, and sometimes a sport, at around 11 o’clock, then being forced to catch a bus at 6:35 or earlier. This lifestyle is extremely unhealthy, and teens cannot do anything to change this constant cycle of stress and exhaustion. 

It’s no wonder our generation is depressed. Parents and teachers blame these issues on poor time management, but they seem to neglect the idea of non-school related hobbies and sports. It seems like most people have forgotten that even teens need a little “me time”.