Are you a student? What has your academic life been like so far? Do you feel burdened by academic pressure?
There are a million students across the world who undergo extreme levels of stress because of academic pressure. There have been various studies that have been done on academic pressure and it has been found that academic pressure can have extremely negative effects on students. From a young age, we are taught that excelling in academics is very important. Therefore, there has always been constant pressure to do well. In our society, we tend to place academic succession on an extremely high pedestal, and therefore, people place a lot of unnecessary high value on academic excellence. Although it is good to apply a little pressure on the students so that they do well in their studies and can make a successful career, it is often that the pressure is too much. Too much of anything is never good. The increased pressure put on the students by themselves as well as those around them can lead to extreme levels of stress and may lead to a decline in their physical and mental health.
The mental health of students is extremely bad in today’s time. We live in a time where everything is a competition and everyone is a competitor. Everybody has to defeat others to rise. However, there is another kind of competition where there is no winner in particular as the competition is never-ending. This adds extreme pressure on students to constantly do well which tends to drive them off the limits at the time. The pressures on students nowadays are from multiple sources. It’s not just the parents and family members but also the educational institutes and society in general. Society plays a huge role in the pressure felt by students across the world today. Current times are not just full of competition but there is also a lack of job opportunities and a lack of space, possibly because of the increase in population. Today there are many new fields of study for students to choose from. However, this only adds to the burden of pressure felt by the students. Because despite the increase in the types of available workforce, there is still a surplus amount of educated unemployed people. There are multiple stories that one comes across daily wherein highly educated people to end up either in a very low-paying job, jobless, or even on the streets. This all adds more pressure on students to perform well in academics.
Multiple studies have been done in the domain of academic stress and pressures, their impact on mental health, and the well-being of students across the globe. These studies have had varied conclusions. But one finding that has been identified across multiple studies over a long period, throws light on the positive correlation between academic stress, parental pressure, and psychiatric problems. Academic stress is an emotional distress felt by most students in today’s time. A moderate level of stress felt toward academics could be good.However, the stress felt by the students today can in no way be considered moderate.
The students undergo extreme levels of stress on a day-to-day basis. Although academic stress is not a new concept, it has worsened with time. Earlier there was mostly exam tension and the stress felt by the students mostly revolved around the exam period. However, that’s not the case anymore. Students nowadays tend to undergo extreme levels of stress, not only during examinations but also during other times. The constant need to perform well is ingrained in their minds and is so deeply rooted that they are unable to break free and live in a constant state of stress and worry.
Today, the academic pressure on students has reached an intense level and the onset of COVID-19 has only made it worse. With the onset of a pandemic such as COVID-19, the entire education system went through a change. There were multiple changes made in the education system which brought a lot of difficulties for the students. The students were no longer able to attend classes because of the lockdown and had to attend online classes with no information about when their offline classes will resume. Even exams were conducted in online mode. Although multiple people seemed to initially like the idea of online classes and it did open up a new path for education and communication, the students seemed to lack behind academically and eventually started to find it extremely hard to maintain their academic performance. This compromised their performance as well as caused the downfall of their mental health. Multiple factors came along with COVID-19 which greatly affected the education system and also affected the mental health of the students. Although many students were able to attend online classes and some even took the time and opportunity to take up various online courses that they otherwise were unable to do because of lack of time, there were also those students who had to give up their education altogether. With classes taking place online, there was a need for devices that would facilitate that kind of education. This was not something that every individual had access to. Multiple students were from financially weaker backgrounds who either ended up falling behind, failing or even dropping out against their wishes. Many students may have been extremely good at academics and keen to study further, but had to let go.
Even the students who managed to study despite the Covid-19 pandemic had a lot of stress and pressures that affected their mental health. The transition from an online to offline mode and no physical communication with the outside world for a long time took a heavy toll on students. Many issues came along with the pandemic which included an increase in social anxiety, separation anxiety, and depression among others.Students also faced a hard time because of the decreased memory span after covid-19 pandemic The students had to adjust to an offline version of schooling and had to relearn to write things by hand instead of typing on their phones.
They also had to relearn how to do class presentations and give physical exams. There was a lot of pressure on students who had to transition from school to college. The shift from school to college is a huge step in the lives of students and is surrounded by feelings of extreme nervousness and stress. This stress was felt with higher intensity by those students who had to make the transition during and right after the pandemic. All of these accompanied by the pressure to do well, imposed on them by themselves as well as by others, made life harder for students. It has been reported that India has the world’s highest suicide rate among the youth and the various reasons, parental pressure for better academic performance is the major one. According to National Crime Records Bureau or the NCRB, there is one student every hour who died by suicide.
In the quest for external validation of their worth through academic performance, students nowadays tend to drown in academic pressure and may undergo various kinds of mental disorders. There are various ways by which a student may be negatively affected by academic pressure both physically and mentally. There is an extreme level of stress felt by students today. Stress is known to diminish individual morale and can lead to various negative behaviors and mental disorders. Excessive stress manifests itself differently in different individuals. some may face extreme physical changes wherein they lose their appetite, have frequent headaches, feel tired all the time ad have gastrointestinal issues. Studies have found that there is a strong link between academic stress and the psychological and physical well-being of students. Stress also has extremely negative effects on the minds of the students and can lead to them undergoing imposter syndrome and other mental health issues that ironically end up lowering their performance. It has also been found through various studies that increased academic pressure often tends to push students towards unhealthy and deviant behavior which includes not only changes in their sleep cycles but also their intense indulgence in sexual activity and substance abuse.
Excessive levels of academic stress can result in an increased prevalence of psychological issues like depression, anxiety, nervousness, and stress-related disorders. The number of students suffering from these disorders is extremely high in today’s time and academic stress would also soon become a significant cause of rising mental health concerns in India. According to WHO, depression was ranked third among the global burden of diseases and is predicted to take over first place by 2030. This shows that it is an extremely important issue and awareness needs to spread about how academic pressure is affecting the mental health of students. The students of today are the future of tomorrow and therefore necessary steps must be taken to improve the mental health status of the students. we need to recognize all the factors that play a role in increasing academic pressure among the students and learn how to deal with it effectively in a manner to reduce the burden on the shoulders of the students. We need to decrease the academic pressures felt by them to protect their physical and mental well-being.