The Impact of Stress on Students in Secondary School and Higher Education

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Stress is part of the human experience. As such, every person will likely undergo some strain in their daily endeavors. However, too much stress can make living challenging. In particular, students enrolled in secondary schools and higher institutions are coming under increasing pressure due to overwhelming workload, financial strain and other factors that we will discuss in this article. All these changes and more may be overwhelming. It can push students to fall into anxiety, depression, or both. This article highlights the causes and impact of stress on students in school. It also presents active strategies for minimizing tension.

female student stressing out

Common stressors that affect students

Learners can be affected by many different stressors. Students in secondary school may have different triggers from that experienced by college students. Nonetheless, below are stressors that impact students.

1. Financial problems

Person holding empty wallet financial problems

Financial problems have a way of stressing both young people and adults. In particular, about 70% of college students are stressed about their finances. While in university, you may worry about tuition, upkeep, and other expenses. Sometimes you may need to work part-time to supplement your income. Doing this can strain you physically and mentally.

2. Homesickness

Heading to college at a young age may impact you in several ways. For one, it can make you miss your family and friends. Homesickness can make you nervous. If it persists, it may harm your mental and physical state.

3. Family problems

Many students have family problems to varying degrees. If you are one of them, these issues may take a toll on you. This pressure may affect you personally and academically. Similarly, it may significantly influence your mental health.

4. Work load

The amount of school activity you engage in determines your tension level. Taking on too many tasks and overworking yourself may negatively affect your grades, especially if you are not strategic in your approach. Also, if your professors dish out too many assignments within a specific timeframe, you may end up being overwhelmed.

Impact of stress on students in schools

Stress affects learners in various ways. Below are some of the more notable impacts of academic pressure.

1. Demotivates learners

Motivation is essential for students to be successful in both secondary school and college. However, it is challenging for learners to feel inspired if they are under stress. Instead, the strain may be a source of demotivation. Once this happens, individual academic performances may likely drop. The decline of grades can be rapid or gradual, depending on the stressors. Some common sources of stress include:

  • Demanding curriculum;
  • Bullying in school;
  • Harassment from teachers and professors;
  • Personal problems.

The inability to complete assignments and term papers is another source of demotivation for students. Students can improve their grades by buying content from the best writing services online. Unburdening yourself from some of the tasks can offer relief to stressed students.

2. Anxiety and depression

Passing through school means that you will undergo some level of stress. Yet, academic pressure can become too much for some to bear. In some instances, this stress can push you to become nervous. Eventually, being anxious can have devastating consequences on your academics. This condition can make you jittery and unable to concentrate on learning.

On the flip side, being stressed in school can lead to depression. Unlike anxiety, this condition may slowly consume you without any warning. In some cases, extreme academic stress can simultaneously make you anxious and depressed.

3. Obsession with success

Being competitive in school is natural. It is sometimes a good thing. Yet, the need to be successful can become an obsession. You can become fixated on wanting to get good grades to the point when it consumes you. When this happens, it can affect your relationship with a partner, friends, and family. It can isolate you and prevent you from succeeding in other aspects of your life.

4. Sleep difficulties

When you are tired, sleep may come easy. Nonetheless, undergoing significant levels of stress can affect your sleeping pattern. It may force you to go to bed late and wake up early. If this occurs consistently, it will change your sleeping pattern completely. Sometimes, it may lead to sleep difficulties or insomnia. Therefore, your ability to rest and recharge becomes limited. It can affect your cognition, academic performance, and physical strength. If care is not taken, having persistent sleeping challenges can lead to more serious health issues. It may also affect your grades and relationships.

5. Drug abuse

To mitigate the effects of stress, many students turn to specific drugs to manage pressure. In contrast, using these medications for a long time can make a person sensitive to stressors other people can easily cope with. As the stress threshold consistently lowers, a person may feel the need to abuse the drugs further in order to feel better and cope with stress. In the long run, a student will more likely become a drug addict, incapable of living without abusing medications.

6. Social isolation

The need to get good grades can hurt your relationship with the people around you. If you stay isolated from people long enough, you may lose the crucial support system every person requires in life.

7. Weakened Immune System

The strength of your immune system is related to how stressed you are and how much sleep you get. Thus, the more relaxed you are, the stronger your immunity is. If you never find time to rest and recharge, you will be more susceptible to various diseases as your body can be too weak to fight off the dangers. Some common illnesses related to stress include:

  • Chronic pain syndrome;
  • Frequent common cold;
  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • Gastrointestinal illnesses.

Excessive pressure in school can exacerbate any chronic sicknesses you may have. Also, you can quickly develop ulcers in your stomach and intestines if you are psychologically stressed from school work.

Ways of reducing the impact of stress on students

stress free male student

There are various ways in which you can reduce and manage stress while in school. However, it will take a conscious effort to be successful at it.

  • Sometimes, all you need is to have someone to listen to you. Learn to speak to people you trust about your problems. You can get a lot of emotional support by talking to your family and friends about the difficulties you face in school.
  • In general, you may not be able to handle anxiety and depression alone. Therefore, it may benefit you to talk to a professional if you have mental health problems.
  • Exercising should help you relax and minimize anxiety. Plus, you will find much benefit in practicing breathing and muscle relaxation exercises.
  • Periodically taking a break from learning should have a positive effect on your mindset. As such, you should consider activities that will help you unwind when stress levels are high.


Too much stress negatively affects students at all school levels. To comprehend the impact of stress, you will have to understand the common stressors that affect students, the impact of stress on learners and ways you can reduce it while in school. Try to find practices that calm and relax you and maintain a school-life balance—your future self will thank you for it!

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