Pressure to Succeed: The Difference Between a Push and a Shove

The pressure to succeed placed on students by their families is a major factor that takes a huge toll on the already stressed-out students. Many students face a wide variety of problems in today’s school system, and the pressure to succeed isn’t doing anyone any favors.

Students are now, more than ever, in an age where success is just about everything. You will see students deprive themselves of sleep, starve, or even do things that physically hurt themselves in order to succeed. Many students are pressured to succeed by their families, and while a push in the right direction is helpful, it seems that some families can’t differentiate between a push and a shove. Students are already tired from the competitive environment that schools have them cooped up in for several hours a day, five days a week. It doesn’t help reduce that stress at all when they return to their homes to a family pressuring them to succeed no matter what. Not only is this proven to cause stress and anxiety, but it can also lead to anger, depression, and the feeling of needing to cheat on tests to succeed. In our modern day society, good grades are valued more than getting a genuinely good education.

This is enough pressure for many students, who in a 2013 study of college mental wellness showed an increasing number of students showing increased signs of depression, stress, and anxiety due to the pressure forced upon them by both schools and their families. Up to 30.3% of students said they considered suicide, and around 9% actually made an attempt on their life. These numbers are shocking, as they’re both increased from their previous years by a mean of 8%. While the rate goes up, funding for these issues remains the same, resulting in no actual change. That’s just another thing that’s stacked up against students. If they can’t get the proper help and are always being pressured, then how do they get rid of that pressure that they feel? Typically they bottle it up until they can’t any longer, and explode emotionally.

Students are susceptible to stress and pressure from their families constantly, and often feel worthless when they can’t live up to their expectations. In a period of growing up and having all new responsibilities forced upon you, having extra stress from parents pressuring their students to succeed can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Instead of pressure, I think it would be better for parents to show a little gentleness and a little compassion. Both of them ultimately go a long way in helping reduce stress.


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