What is more upsetting than getting a bad grade on subjects where you spent blood, sweat, and tears? If you are experiencing an academic slump, you may agree that grade anxiety and grade obsession often keep you awake at night. Little did you know, overthinking about grades perhaps contributes to your lousy performance more than anything.
Remember, achieving greater heights and career milestones does not require A+ marks on your report card. Getting an outstanding GPA is not just about late-night cramming and endless reviewing—mental soundness and stable mental health are equally vital.
If you think that learning is purely about good grades and passing all examinations, then scan through the end of this article to realize that what you learn and how much you enjoyed the process is way more valuable than what is reflected on your card. Cheer up, buddy. Grades are not the end of the road.
Why is There so Much Pressure on Grades?
It is only natural for most students like you to be meticulous about grades because it compensates for your academic excellence and hard work, and the desire to achieve bigger goals grows fondly. That is why many students are worried about grades, thus becoming pressured and anxious.
In reality, there is so much pressure on grades due to social expectations that keep pushing students to be excellent and juggle multiple extracurricular activities aside from being full-time learners.
Parents, for example, expect you to attend after-school classes and student organizations in hopes of nurturing your potential. While it is true that active participation equips you with practical skills, overwhelming responsibilities might derail you from performing your optimum capabilities. Additionally, young learners may not be able to handle so much stress and responsibilities at a time.
Academic expectations in the status quo are incredibly high for most students to the extent that it burdens you to attend classes against your will. Average performers are even invalidated because the bar is set to unrealistic standards.
Scoring average on standardized tests is underappreciated nowadays. Once you get to the ceiling, you are then required to outperform yourself in the subsequent semesters—and the cycle never ends; it is like a loophole of expectations. You are pushed to drain yourself to reach the standards the people around you and society developed.
Even a 4.0 GPA is considered average, forcing you to take tutorial classes to improve. Academic pressure and social development are closely intertwined. You see students today struggling to achieve higher grades because the standards have grown over the years.
The outcome of these social standards is students grappling with focusing. Most students have limited opportunities to furnish their crafts and talents inside the school. Hence, academic pressure is a result of forced learning. Academic responsibilities burn you out because growth is no longer prioritized.
What Percent of Students are Stressed by Grades?
One of the reasons why you shouldn’t stress about grades too much is because it might cause you social and mental detriments.
According to the report published by Inside Higher Ed, 82% of the 704 undergrad respondents from Worcester Polytechnique Institute (with seven suicide cases since July 2021) feel exceeding academic pressure. It might be only a fraction of the bigger picture, but it proves that academic pressure has unfortunate outcomes.
In 2018, before the pandemic paralyzed the educational systems, Harvard Health Publishing demonstrated in their statistics that 63% of the American student population exhibited anxiety in the past year, 23% of which were diagnosed by an attending professional expert in mental health and psychotherapy.
In addition, 8 out of 10 college students were reported to experience high levels of academic stress in 2018, according to a study conducted by the American Institute of Stress.
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a study published by professors from Texas A&M University cited that 71% of the 195 students felt anxious due to various factors, including increased academic concerns about educational performance and disruptions to sleeping patterns, and decreased social connections, among others.
Indeed, academic performance and grades are not just the sole factors why students feel stressed out. However, the abovementioned data are evident that academic responsibilities cause mental instability.
When these issues of national concern are not addressed as soon as possible, a lasting effect on the system will flourish negatively in the future.
What Causes the Most Stress for Students?
If you are wondering how to stop overthinking about grades, read the following reasons below why students get stressed to understand this dire situation further.
High Academic Workload
There are several reasons students get engulfed with school responsibilities, one of which is the skyrocketing academic loads. As you move to higher levels of education, the number of academic responsibilities relatively increases in addition to more demanding and advanced subjects. You might have difficulty keeping up with the growing standards and more complex activities, not to mention the stiff due dates.
Education Level Transition
Another source of stress is the challenging transition to higher education. If you have a weak foundation of knowledge in lower years, absorbing new concepts with complex explanations needs extra time and effort. For example, first-year college students need some consideration to fully adjust to the culture in college, especially in the teaching strategy and environment.
Personal Factor and Lack of Time Management
In contrast to external factors, stress can also be a personal factor. Students find several entertainment sources with their peers, such as club activities, leisure and hobbies, and social gatherings, which can divide your attention. Lack of time management causes much pressure because you encounter compounding activities simultaneously.
Lack of Self-care and Enough Rest
While some stressors are precedented, there are cases where your lack of self-care can develop a severe condition. You will reap a bad harvest if you spend so much time on academics without proper nourishment and sleeping patterns. Hence, sometimes other learners have mood swings and sensitive attitudes related to lack of sleep and insufficient time for self-reflection.
Poor Study Habit
The more conscious you become of your grade, the more you get serious about mastering skills. Hence, this edge comes with academic anxiety because you will want to do great in almost everything. The more you take charge of bigger tasks, the lesser you follow a study framework.
In other words, stress is inevitable if you do not have good study habits. There needs to be a balance in every responsibility you do—school work, club activity, leisure, hobby, or side hustles. Make sure that you can manage them before joining.
Why You Shouldn’t Stress About Grades?
Managing stress takes time and requires practical measures on how to stop overthinking about grades. It is understandable to feel worried about your marks because it is a reward for your effort, but there are significant points that you need to remember why stressing about grades is not a good idea.
First and foremost, grade anxiety and grade obsession can lead to chronic stress when it gets out of hand. Yes, pressure can push you to work hard and encourage a go-getter attitude. On the opposite side, your health is at risk when you abuse your health with your desire to earn grades.
Secondly, grades do not define your future. It might be essential to have excellent academic standing, but it does not end there. Success combines experience, intelligent decisions, and a positive outlook. It feels great to have good grades but much better to have a sound and healthy well-being.
Having an average grade is not a problem, as long as you have experience and proven expertise to support your future career. Furthermore, it is not the only factor that companies look at during the hiring process, contradictory to popular belief. It would be best if you cultivated better qualities such as ethics, practical skills, and communication prowess while young.
If you keep an eye on grades alone, you will not enjoy the process and value the essence of learning. Learning is about educating yourself in a way that supports growth and a positive mindset. In pursuit of high grades, you will lose the natural quest for new knowledge as everything will be rushed and forced.
Lastly, grades do not mean anything without grit and passion. Life does not revolve around a numerical value. Teach yourself not to look at the outcome because learning is more fun when you enjoy it along the way. Make more time for activities that will improve you in multiple aspects.
5 Things to Do When You’re Stressing Out About Your Grades
Whenever you feel exhausted, there are a lot of ways that you can do to make yourself feel better. When you have an excellent stress-management intervention, you can positively impact your holistic health.
Before we dig deeper, it is much better to understand that stress is inevitable. The good thing is that you can manage the external factors that cause you to feel drained such as limiting your workloads, increasing social interaction, and time management.
1. Avoid Procrastinating and Start Doing
We usually feel overwhelmed with the amount of work we need to finish because we love to do things at a later time. It would help if you changed this habit instead of thinking about what you need to do. It might feel challenging initially, but you will have the riddance along the way.
Making friends who can encourage a positive learning attitude would be practical. Find people you trust and talk to them sincerely about how you feel. This way, you will spend time studying and learning together and find an emotional outlet.
3. Focus on Inner Peace
If there are so many things to do, do not stress yourself out to submit an output because you will end up producing substandard ones. Create a schedule and daily to-do list to prevent this situation from happening. It is not about how fast you can do a job but how well you manage your time.
4. Do Physical Activities
You neglect your physical health when you get too invested in your academics. According to studies, physical activities boost mood and increase happy hormones. Your lack of physical activities may contribute to your negative emotions.
5. Do Your Hobbies and Take a Break
Do the things you love and forget about your grades. Your happiness should be your topmost priority. Once you feel good about yourself, you will naturally feel passionate about going back on track. It does not cost you anything to have a few breaks for self-care.
Wrapping Things Up: Stop Worrying About Your Grades: Do This Instead
There is nothing wrong with wanting to do good at school. Everyone wants to get good grades regardless of the reasons. Nonetheless, do not let yourself be consumed by your greed for high grades. Now, how to stop worrying about your grades?
There are several ways to avoid being academically pressured, such as making good study habits and time management. Start changing yourself instead of thinking about the loads of work you need to finish. Prevention is better than cure, they say. Hence, you can prevent grade anxiety by following the abovementioned points!
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