Find the full episode at This Teenage Life, and wherever podcasts are found.
Academic pressure can bring out the best and worst in students. Some teens get so invigorated by the chance to prove themselves that they fall down the proverbial rabbit hole, and enjoy reading every piece of research they can find before writing a paper or taking a test. But for others, the pressure to succeed can lead to procrastination, headaches, anxiety attacks, and sleepless nights.
This Teenage Life is a podcast that gives students space to talk about whatever is on their minds. Some episodes have dealt with finding your style, crushes, acne, sibling rivalry, and mental health challenges. But the core group of teens who craft these episodes also spend a lot of time thinking about the place where they spend so many of their waking hours: school.
At XQ, we value youth voice and choice. It’s one of our design principles for rethinking how to make better high schools. We’re proud to sponsor TTL because we believe listening to students helps educators foster another design principle: caring, trusting relationships. When teens feel valued, they can also thrive in school—putting them on the path to success in college or careers.
The episode “Academic Pressure” is a candid conversation about the ups and downs of homework, testing, preparing for college, and family expectations. Even though a New York student named Sarah acknowledges “you’re worth more than your grade,” she describes the pressure of school as “intertwined with my identity” because academic success determines how she feels about herself. Another student, Eva in Pennsylvania, says she now has a “toxic relationship” with school because learning used to be more enjoyable when she was young— before the stakes got higher. Stella, a student in Illinois, puts it this way: “a math test could determine the rest of your life.”
We believe conversations like these are important for educators to hear if they’re to fully appreciate their students and help them reach their full potential. Enjoy this latest episode sponsored by XQ.
Listen to previous TTL episodes dealing with high school, sponsored by XQ:
Art by Cloe Moreno, provided by This Teenage Life