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The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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On Monday, June 10, the annual Underclassmen Awards ceremony took place inside of WHSs auditorium.

I think that these awards bring motivation to [WHS] students to preform well academically, Sophomore Rufat Hasanov said.
WHS hosts the annual Underclassman Awards ceremony
June 15, 2024
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Editorial: Great expectations bring about a silent struggle

WSPNs+Editorial+Board+shares+their+thoughts+on+the+effects+of+the+academic+culture+at+Wayland+High+School.
Credit: Reva Datar
WSPN’s Editorial Board shares their thoughts on the effects of the academic culture at Wayland High School.

It’s past midnight and you’ve been working on a single assignment for over an hour. You’re exhausted from the long school day, stressed about an upcoming test and you’re starting to question why you took that challenging class. You even consider the Wayland High School unthinkable: dropping down a level. This dilemma is something we have all faced throughout our time at WHS.

Making the decision to drop down a class level isn’t always easy, even if a student knows it’s in their best interest. Several courses at WHS have differing classes that vary in academic rigor, meaning that students can take a class at a certain level. Dropping down a level could mean saving hours of sleep and allowing time in your schedule to explore other areas of interest. However, with the pressure put on students to have the most demanding schedule possible, and the looming prospect of getting into a ‘good’ college, lightening the burden seems like the last thing one should do. Students may think that they will be rewarded for pushing themselves to a large extent, however, the resulting academic burnout says otherwise.

As students grapple with the coursework of their current classes, they must also begin to consider what courses they will take next school year. Since early March, students at WHS have engaged in the course selection process for the 2024-2025 school year, a process that may spike anxiety for some. Students are faced with the age-old question: should they challenge themselves and risk burnout or give themselves room to breathe?

The expectation of high academic achievement in Wayland schools plays an alarming role in answering this question. All around us, some classmates are taking all-honors level or multiple Advanced Placement (AP) level classes and more than one elective. It’s easy to look at the course load of our peers and feel the need to take harder classes that can be difficult to manage. In Wayland, it can feel like there is no winning academically. It’s easy to feel as if we’re always behind in one way or another, constantly rushing to put out the fire that is our school work.

Getting into college is ideally the product of a student’s hard work over the course of their time in high school. However, it isn’t always guaranteed that a student will gain admission to their dream college that they have worked hard to get into, and admission is not an immediate reward for hard work.

On top of the immense stress that comes from comparing ourselves to our peers, Wayland itself is a breeding ground for academic stress. There is an academic toxicity in our school where people no longer have their friends’ best interests at heart. It has gotten to the point that there is a selfish desperation for others to fail in order for students feel better about their own shortcomings.

As the school year reaches its peak, tending to one’s mental health right now seems imperative, yet impossible. There is an intense pressure on students to end the year with ‘strong’ grades and a perfect transcript, which can promote an unhealthy fixation on how grades define our capabilities.

As students, we contribute immensely to the academic culture at school, whether that means our attitude towards our peers or towards ourselves. In order to finish out this school year in a healthy way, there are steps each of us can actively take to address the academic stress at school. Be supportive of your friends, celebrate their successes and be there for them when they are having a rough time.

There is no shame in struggling with academics. Hiding this struggle from those who can help you will ultimately end up harming you in the long run. Be understanding of yourself. Allow yourself time to notice the failures, but don’t forget to celebrate the successes. Remember that you are still learning how to be a good student, and making mistakes along the way is how you grow.

Fill your time with things that refresh you, motivate you and bring out your passions. Don’t be afraid to spend time on a hobby every now and then. Though high school seems like a time where you must stretch yourself thin and check numerous boxes, the only way for you to truly succeed is by knowing when to put your personal needs first. This is easier said than done, especially when academic expectations are high, but is necessary to ensure your mental health remains in your control.

Lastly, try to not compare yourself to your peers. Your classmates and friends are the people you make memories with, not competitors you have to beat. Because we are all so different, you can never truly compare two students at WHS. Everyone is on their own path, and everyone deserves a chance to discover themselves on their own terms. It’s on each and every one of us to start encouraging this in our school.

Editorials reflect the views of the majority of WSPN editors.

 

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About the Contributor
Reva Datar
Reva Datar, Opinion Editor
Reva Datar, Class of 2025, is a third year reporter and opinion editor for WSPN. She does Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and traveling with friends. Contact: [email protected]
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