Are the A’s Worth it?

Pressures to be perfect may not be worth the costs.


Francesca Geffre, Junior Editor

High schoolers undergo a lot of stress. Between sports, friends, jobs, and especially school, teenagers have a lot going on. Although school is a very important part of students’ lives, I believe it is time for the academic pressure of being a student to fall back a bit. 

According to The Newport Institute, academic pressure is when “a student is burdened by the demands of time and energy to achieve specific academic goals.” Academic pressure might come from families, coaches, or the standards you set for yourself.

In many people’s lives, including my own, school comes first, and I don’t think that should change. High school is important to learn how to be a good student, and to prepare for whatever is next in your life, whether that be college, entering the workforce, or something else. 

However, grades matter a lot to high school students. A’s are the goal, not only to look good for college, but to prove yourself to family, friends, teachers, and peers.

Sophomore Camille Huntley says, “I care a lot about my grades and it is hard to accept that sometimes they are not going to be what I want them to be.”

This should not be the mindset teens have. While it is important to set high achieving goals, this comes with a price to pay. 

Intense academic pressure can lead to anxiety, depression, and result in teenagers withdrawing from things they enjoy. Academic stress causes less sleep in high school students. Teenagers need nine hours of sleep a night. In a study conducted by the CDC, it was found that 80% of high schoolers get insufficient sleep, with 20% getting less than six hours a night. 

Getting little amounts of sleep effects how alert you are, affects your relationships by making you more moody, and makes it harder for students to pay attention in school. The Newport Institute says that less sleep leads to anxiety, depression, and could lead to struggling with substance abuse.

Students struggling with mental health does not seem like a good trade for getting A’s. Your health should come first, not expectations you or someone else sets for you.

With five classes to study for, students set high expectations for themselves, not thinking about the drawbacks that are setting in their mental health.

To conclude, school is very important, and so is setting high goals for yourself. But good grades should not come at the expense of no sleep, lower mental health, or not taking care of yourself.