What Are The Causes Of Academic Pressure?

What Are The Causes Of Academic Pressure

Academic pressure is formally defined as “an experience in which a student is burdened by the demands of time and energy to achieve specific academic goals.” There is an incredible amount of academic pressure placed on young people in the United States. At a very early age, children are encouraged to continuously think ahead and academically prepare themselves for subsequent academic milestones. This cyclical pattern of continuously anticipating the next step in academia can be quite damaging. There is an array of potential causes of academic pressure. 

Though well intentioned, it is not uncommon for parents to be one of the sources of a teen’s academic pressure. A parent will often want the best for his or her teenager and in turn, place extra pressure on him or her to excel in school. A young person can feel pressure from outside sources (e.g., the increasing competitive nature of being accepted into a university). Academic pressure can also be self-imposed. Living in a culture that is performance-based creates intense competition, and for adolescents this can manifest as academic pressure. There are teenagers who experience mild academic pressure and are positively motived by it, but the reverse is also true. Part of a young person’s maturation process is learning how to balance the demands of life. While this does include a commitment to one’s academics, it also includes figuring out what truly bring happiness and joy to a young person’s life. When a teenager’s only focus is on his or her schoolwork and academic advancement, the overwhelming academic pressure can be hindering to his or her growth and development. 

What Does It Look Like?

Academic pressure can cause a teen to experience emotional and or physical symptoms of stress. Some of the signs that are exhibited in a teenager with immense academic pressure can include any combination of the following:

  • Obsession with grades
  • Anxiety 
  • Extreme competitiveness
  • Change in appetite
  • Constant working
  • Abusing stimulants (e.g., coffee, prescription medicine, etc.)
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Inability to relax
  • Social isolation

Additionally, a teenager who is under academic pressure will often lose interest in previously enjoyed pastimes. Teens can become disinterested in participating in extracurricular activities and spending time with friends. Unfortunately, for many the intense academic pressure can be counterintuitive to academic success. It is not uncommon for academic pressure in teens to manifest as emotional and/ or physical stress. This, in turn, can cause a young person to perform poorly in their schoolwork as they attempt to upkeep unsustainable study habits. In fact, it can result in sinking grades and lowered test scores, due to negative feelings towards one’s education and unsustainable study habits. 

For Information and Support

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Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

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