The high school years are supposed to be some of the best times in one’s life. Its a period of growing and figuring out who you are and how you’ll choose to fit into the world. Social scientists and TV producers alike aren’t lying that much when they say that the high school environment is a microcosm of the world at large. At a time in one’s life when defining yourself or at least trying to is seen as more important that breathing itself; too much stress during these years can ruin the whole purpose of being a high school student.
Yes academics are important, as are activities. But the high school period is supposed to be like a practice ground for one’s life where you are socially allowed to be dumb, make some stupid mistakes, and have little responsibility. Its a time of life to make mistakes and learn from them and for the most part have little or no lifelong impact from doing stupid things.
With all this said, the stress of preparing for college can take all the fun out of high school years. With students being told to start preparing for college before they walk into the high school halls, students are focusing more on 4 years later then the 4 years right in front of them. Instead of enjoying the time of their life and learning more about themselves, they lock themselves away and study, study , study. They join so many groups and SAT prep courses that they have little time to just sit back with friends and dabble in teenage mischief and the period of trial and errors.
You may say that high school kids who goof off too much amount to nothing later in life, but finding the balance is what makes it all right. I goofed off a lot in high school, my grades were average, and I even skipped school to drink and smoke. But I also made sure I took the time to study when needed, belonged to two sports teams, the band, the stage crew, and the technology crew and due to this I gained entry into a good 4 year college. I now hold my first B.S. degree as I continue on my path for more education.
My own experience aside, if students are too stressed about getting into college they miss out on key life lessons during high school. This in many cases leads to binging and excess once they become exposed to the freedom of college living. Many honor roll high school students end up failing out of college due to a life of excess which is directly related to the fact that they did not experiment and try new things during their high school years.
College will come in time for those that live a balanced life and seek further education, students in high school should realistically begin thinking about college choices and taking the SATs during their junior year and no sooner. They should do well but enjoy the carefree lifestyle of high school and take each step of the college process in stride.