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Education system in Irvine is currently harming students’ mental health

2023.07.03 18:30:06 Nayun Lee

[Image of high workloads. Photo Credit to pexels.com]

Students in Irvine, located in sunny Orange County in Southern California, have recently been struggling with increased competition in their school district, which can have a negative impact on their mental health.

 Irvine is well known for its top education system, where many Asian American parents send their children to ensure they are well-prepared for college and their futures. 

 Due to this, Irvine became a place where students spend many hours studying for school to compete with their peers. 

But what is the outcome of this intense competition, and can students handle the increased expectations put on them? 

According to statistics from the City of Irvine, students in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) perform extremely well, "Irvine students consistently lead Orange County in SAT scores, and more than 90 percent of their high school graduates attend college. IUSD has nationally recognized schools; student performance well-above state and national comparisons; and comprehensive programs in academics, the arts, and athletics." 

IUSD has a reputation for being the top school district in Orange County, with students leading in terms of academic performance, arts, and athletics. 

However, this impeccable reputation comes with a hidden cost. 

Due to the academic and extracurricular workloads students in Irvine must take, many struggle with depression and anxiety. 

On average, students at IUSD school take seven to nine classes a semester. 

They also have many extracurricular activities outside of school, such as sports, volunteering, tutoring, and clubs, which gives them less time to work on school assignments and study for tests. 

However, most teachers assign us lots of work because they want the students to succeed in their classes.

 This results in students having high workloads, which gives them more pressure and stress.

Two scientists, Anyan and Hjemdal, researched the effect of academic pressure on teenagers, "Excessive academic pressure is bound to lead to emotional changes in teenagers, which will easily lead to mental illness such as depression in the long run."

Over time, the many hours of studying, tutoring, and extracurricular activities can negatively impact students' mental health, holding them back from reaching their goals. 

If left untreated, poor mental health may also lead to students self-harming physically or committing suicide.

According to a student currently attending one of the schools in Irvine, she had seen some of my classmates struggle with mental illness because they put so much pressure on themselves to fulfill their parents' expectations. 

For example, worried about doing well, many of her friends will stay up all night during test weeks, which causes them to burn out and reduces their energy while taking tests. 

Afterward, some of their grades went down, even though they studied very hard to get good results. 

It would be better if the school district and parents could encourage students to balance their studies with their own hobbies and free time. 

Students need to work hard and prepare for their futures, but it is also importantto feel strong and mentally healthy. 

Educators also need to consider students’ mental health because students deserve to feel supported and protected. 

Ultimately, a better balance between school and life could increase the number of students who go on to good colleges since they will have a strong and healthy foundation to work from. 

Nayun Lee / Grade 10
Crean Lutheran High School