The Effects of Unrealistic Standards and How Students Can Cope

Emily Huseth
Published on
August 30, 2022

School: something all of us can relate to. Many of us are placed in school at age three and typically know what we want to do with our lives by 17-18. But in reality, many teenagers don't know their favorite color, let alone what career path they'd like to pursue. Why is it that when it comes to academics, we are encouraged to finish fast, but when it comes to life, we are told that we should "slow down" and "life is too short"? We are bombarded with false standards and decisions that we must make at the ripe age of 17 and 18.

Something most teenagers can relate to is the idea of "living up to your full potential." First off, what does that even mean? And secondly, why wouldn't we? Parents' common misconceptions are that teenagers make mistakes and disagree with them out of spite and because "it's a stage." This does have some truth to it, but the reasoning as to why teenagers struggle with making life-changing decisions is that they were never prepared for it. According to National Geographic , "On April 23, 1635, the first public school in what would become the United States was established in Boston, Massachusetts". Schools have been around for over 380 years. Yet, surprisingly, everything is almost the same in preparing students for their futures. 

Although it may take many years before parents or teachers acknowledge this, you can still deal with the problem yourself as a student. It may not be easy, but it sure is better than making decisions for the sake of fitting a mould you think you're meant to suit. Here are some tips on how to take a breather and achieve in your own way. 


#1) Set Goals. 

I know this may seem very basic but hear me out! Humans are motivated not just because we wake up cheerful some days or want to feel accomplished. We are motivated because we have goals, and it is because of these goals that we push ourselves to do better each day. Not having something to strive for can get boring, believe it or not.

#2) Make your own decisions. 

I understand that not everyone's parents are trying to steer their child's choices, but people are going through that. Ultimately, you are the only one who can dictate whether or not you get into that college or get that job. Do things because you want to, not because you want to be accepted.

#3) Believe in yourself! 

Trying to determine what you want to do for the rest of your life just in itself sounds scary. A handful of individuals out there know what they want to do in life, but many others don't. And that is okay. We all learn at different paces, which isn't something you should be ashamed of. Our mind is truly the most powerful thing we have. But, having something of such power can do wonders or bury you in worry. That's why you must believe that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to and breathe! 

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