School atmosphere weighs down instead of uplifts

Junior Janaiyah Inniss overloaded with school work and extracurriculars, like WJ Crew, falls asleep during class.

Photo by Olivia Svharf

Junior Janaiyah Inniss overloaded with school work and extracurriculars, like WJ Crew, falls asleep during class.

The impending pressure of college and the stress that comes with senior year is a shadow over all juniors. Specifically in this area, a very competitive atmosphere is created that can make students feel as if they need to get into a good college. As such, many feel it is necessary to pile up on AP’s senior year.

Students are bombarded with work junior year, having to keep up with SAT prep, college tours, maintaining their GPAand the ever changing parts of their lives as students try to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Not only do high school students have to deal with education and the finding of their identity that comes with growing up, but they also have to juggle extracurriculars that can take up all of their free time.

As WJ is in a relatively affluent area, the atmosphere of the school encourages students to take on as much as they can; as many AP and honors classes and extracurriculars as humanly possible, all in hopes of getting into a good college.

I know many people who have overloaded themselves on work, taking as many as 5 AP’s their senior year. Many students stake their whole self worth on academic achievement and when that part of their life destabilizes it can be detrimental to their mental health. 

Part of the reason students stake so much of themselves on academics is because of the competitive environment our school breeds. Not only does the heavy focus on taking AP and honors courses prove to have negative mental effects on students but it also forces students into a box. It makes it much more difficult for students to think on their own and develop as people. In my opinion, knowing who you are is much more valuable than taking a bunch of advanced classes in the grand scheme of things.

A healthy amount of pressure is good as it can force students to step out of their comfort zone and take on classes that challenge them. 

Our school is ranked number six out of 224 public high schools in Maryland according to Niche. No doubt this is at least partially due to the atmosphere at WJ but there needs to be a substantial decrease in the amount of pressure teachers, parents and even peers, put on students.