Glamorized

Our educational climate has bred the glamorization of anxiety and stress in schools into a menacing epidemic-- and we’re all partly to blame.

by Jana Seal, Editor In Chief

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     “I have literally ten hours of homework tonight, I hate my life.” Sound familiar? This is something that I hear more than once everyday, and am guilty of saying myself. We exist in a time when the stresses of school, social life, family life and “the future” force us to find humor in the factors that make our lives difficult– meaning that it is easier to focus on the stress itself rather than the independent stresses, and thus the thought of stress snowballs into its own fundamental source of pressure. An academic culture that values school over everything else has led to a universal and gross glamorization of hating one’s life and self– and as students, we are are responsible for constructing and fostering that attitude.  

    Group polarization- the magnification of a group’s shared attitudes through discussion within the group- is enabled through social media– we all individually have problems with the school system and the stress that it produces, however when we are able to discuss them with such a large group of students (on the internet) that feel the same way, our opinions strengthen and an “us-against-them” mentality develops.

    This is something we have seen first-hand at Rock Canyon. The ever-popular “meme page” (@relatable_rc) was a way for the student body to express that manifested anger at the staff and administration through humor. That account, among an internet of ones like it, attempted to relate, hence the handle name, to the student body through complaining about and criticizing our sources of stress. Upon hearing others’ struggles in the same areas, we feel increasingly justified in our personal complaints and stresses- and therefore they are fortified.

    Stress can be exciting- it makes us feel like we have purpose. The idea of having so much going on creates a feeling of superiority- that we’re trying harder than everyone else and are consequently more successful. We brag about how many AP classes we’re taking and how hard they are on our mental health, how many hours of homework we have on a given night and how little time we have to complete it. Many of us have grown up in an environment of competition, where we need to be the best at everything.

    This nurtures a tendency to gravitate towards self-imposed pressure, because amongst the storm of negative products that stress brings, an ounce of satisfaction is relinquished in the form of pride and a feeling of accomplishment. The addiction to that one success overpowers the harmful aspects of stress, instigating our simultaneous aversion to and enthrallment with the idea of stress itself.