Transitioning into adulthood and enjoying its freedoms requires one to navigate through the challenges of high school.
For many, high school can be a time of tribulation and fear.
However, there are some who consider high school to be one of the best times of their lives.
If you find yourself struggling in high school, you may wonder why it is so difficult for you compared to others who seem to be succeeding.
Why Is High School So Hard? (10 Factors to Consider)
1. Limited Friendships
Having a supportive group of friends in high school is undeniably valuable.
Friends can assist with studying, provide emotional support, and help alleviate stress.
Feeling connected and less isolated is especially important during the high school years, which are filled with changes and pressure.
It can be challenging to discuss your problems with teachers and parents as they may not fully understand your perspective.
On the other hand, your friends share similar experiences and can relate to what you are going through.
Having a reliable circle of friends can make high school much more manageable.
Without friends, high school can feel difficult, with no one to confide in, complain about assignments with, or distract you from stress.
Furthermore, without friends, you miss out on creating cherished high school memories.
Hence, having friends can greatly impact your high school experience for the better.
2. Lack of Support at Home
High school can be even more challenging when you lack support at home.
During this time, identities start to take shape, and hormonal changes begin.
If you don’t receive the necessary support at home, navigating high school becomes more difficult.
There may be pressure to conform to certain expectations from your peers and parents.
This pressure can extend to smaller everyday tasks as well.
If you’re facing difficulties at school and your parents are not there to support you, it can further compound your challenges.
In high school, your parents can’t shield you from your own emotions, such as feelings of depression or despair.
Additionally, if you experience bullying, your parents may not be present to intervene and protect you.
Furthermore, some parents may have to work long hours to make ends meet, leaving you to take on more responsibilities at home earlier than expected.
Having to take care of both school-related tasks and household chores can make high school harder.
When you don’t have support from your parents, the high school journey can become more difficult than it should be.
3. Being the First Child
If you are the eldest child in your family, high school may present unique challenges compared to being a second or third child.
As the first child, your parents are navigating parenthood for the first time.
If things go wrong, they know what changes to make when raising your younger siblings.
You are essentially paving the way for your younger siblings.
This can make certain aspects of high school difficult.
For one, you bear the responsibility of setting a reputation for your family.
If you excel academically, teachers are likely to view your siblings favorably as well.
They will expect the same level of achievement.
This can also apply to sports.
You may have to work harder to prove your athletic abilities, while your siblings may have an easier time as the coach expects them to perform equally well.
Younger siblings often have an easier time finding friends since they can mingle with the younger siblings of your friends.
You are the one who needs to introduce them.
Moreover, as the first child, you may be responsible for transportation since you are the one obtaining your driver’s license.
Ensuring your siblings get to where they need to be falls on your shoulders.
Being the first child comes with additional responsibilities, making high school more challenging.
4. Parental Expectations
High school becomes exceptionally difficult when students face high expectations from their parents.
Parents may either have high expectations or give their children the freedom to make their own decisions.
Some parents fall somewhere in between.
When parents have high expectations, it places significant pressure on their children.
These pressures can include achieving specific grades in all subjects or excelling in certain extracurricular activities.
In some cases, parents may expect their children to attend a specific college and apply accordingly.
Such high expectations can make high school extremely challenging as students face the constant pressure to perform at their best to avoid disappointing their parents.
Feeling as though they might disappoint their parents can lead to anxiety and despair.
Moreover, these high expectations can limit students’ choices.
They may not be able to take certain classes or form friendships based on their parents’ goals for them.
Parental pressure significantly influences the difficulty of high school.
5. Changing Friend Groups
High school brings about numerous changes, including changes in friendships.
During this time, both subtle and significant changes occur in your body.
As you change, you may find that you no longer connect with your current group of friends.
This can cause angst and make high school challenging.
The options are twofold – you may choose to leave the friend group, which leaves you feeling isolated and vulnerable in a social environment that thrives on groups and connections.
Alternatively, you may choose to remain with your friends but experience pressure to conform to behaviors that do not align with your own values.
This can contribute to feelings of despair and anxiety.
You may even question why you no longer enjoy the company of your friends as before, possibly thinking something is wrong with you.
These are significant emotional struggles for students who are still in the process of emotional development.
High school dynamics do not always support maintaining friend groups.
Each year, students find themselves placed in new classes with potentially different classmates.
While they may have a few friends in their class, this is not guaranteed.
If the friend group does not share common activities, it is likely to disintegrate.
When you are unable to spend time together, there is nothing that binds you.
Changes in friend groups can make high school challenging for students.
6. Overcrowded Classrooms
Another significant factor that contributes to the difficulty of high school is overcrowded classrooms.
While not all high schools face this issue, many do.
Overcrowding makes high school challenging for several reasons.
Firstly, teachers have to divide their attention among numerous students.
It is inevitable that some students may be overlooked.
Quiet students who may hesitate to ask for help are more likely to go unnoticed in larger classrooms.
Smaller classrooms allow teachers to focus on individual students and encourage their participation.
In contrast, larger classrooms require teachers to manage the class as a whole, potentially neglecting students who are reserved and well-behaved.
As a result, these students may struggle to understand certain concepts, resulting in lower grades.
Secondly, overcrowded classrooms can be noisy and distracting.
With a small space filled with numerous students, distractions become more prevalent.
Students who are easily distracted will find plenty of diversions within such an environment.
This can hinder their ability to concentrate on lessons and ultimately impact their grades.
Lastly, overcrowded classrooms may lead to a faster pace of instruction.
Teachers have to account for administrative tasks such as attendance and distributing materials, which can result in faster instruction to keep up with the curriculum.
High school becomes challenging when students are placed in overcrowded classrooms.
7. Low Self-Esteem
High school is a critical period for the development of self-esteem.
Prior to high school, self-esteem is not as prominent.
Students are too young to concern themselves with self-image to the extent that high school necessitates.
During high school, self-esteem starts to play a significant role.
Some students naturally possess high self-esteem, making high school easier as they have confidence in themselves and believe in their ability to succeed.
However, other students may struggle with low self-esteem.
They may find high school challenging because they lack confidence in their abilities and feel they are incapable of meeting expectations.
In addition, low self-esteem makes students susceptible to bullying, as they are less likely to stand up for themselves.
Bullying can cause fear, pain, and often trumps concerns over academic performance.
Students who face bullying during high school may start to perform poorly in their classes due to their preoccupation with the bully.
Low self-esteem significantly contributes to the difficulty of high school.
8. Hormonal Changes
Another crucial aspect of high school is navigating the hormonal changes occurring during this period.
While some students begin experiencing these changes in middle school, high school is when they become more prominent.
During this time, students start to understand their own sexual orientation and may experience new emotions and attractions.
It is also a period when friendships start to develop into potential romantic or sexual relationships.
Hormonal changes include more than just romantic interests – they can also trigger feelings of depression, anxiety, or anger.
Schools may not always address these changes adequately, and parents might also be uncertain about how to discuss them.
Consequently, students are left to navigate these emotions on their own, which can make high school challenging.
Hormonal changes can also lead to physical transformations that may make students feel out of place among their peers.
Such changes can cause dysphoria and add to the difficulties of high school.
9. College Preparation
For many students, high school serves as a stepping stone to college, making it the final phase of their education before entering the world.
High schools often structure their curricula with the assumption that students will pursue higher education.
As a result, many classes incorporate college-related content.
For instance, advanced classes may mirror college-level courses.
Students who take such courses may find them exceptionally challenging.
In other cases, more enjoyable classes may be replaced with courses focused on college preparation.
While this may benefit students planning to attend college, it can create difficulties for those who do not have college aspirations.
For instance, some schools may eliminate art programs to prioritize college-focused courses, which may negatively impact students interested in pursuing artistic endeavors.
Due to the emphasis placed on college, high school learning can become more challenging for students.
10. Restrictive Learning
The inflexibility of high school curriculum also contributes to its challenges.
Standardized testing requires students to learn specific subjects and then be tested on them.
While standardized testing aids in comparing student performance, the subjects tested are not always relevant to real-world survival.
For example, few schools teach classes on taxes and personal finance despite their practical significance.
Conversely, students may be required to learn certain types of math that may not be applicable to their future endeavors.
Budget cuts commonly lead to the elimination of enjoyable classes such as art, language, and music.
Students with a passion for these subjects are no longer able to pursue their interests.
Instead, they are compelled to devote time to subjects that do not engage them.
The teaching method employed is another factor that impacts the difficulty of high school.
Some teachers rely solely on textbooks, neglecting alternative teaching approaches.
As a result, learning becomes centered on memorization rather than developing critical thinking skills.
Students who struggle with memorization may face challenges in high school.
High school is a transformative period in a person’s life, but it is not always an enjoyable one.
Understanding the factors that make high school difficult can help teachers, parents, and students make the necessary changes to improve the overall high school experience.
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