Is it worth it? High school students find themselves asking this as they sacrifice another hour of sleep for a high GPA. High school students challenge themselves to take AP courses, and those who take them are aiming high at Ivy League universities and big name colleges.
Those who make it to the college cannot use their AP credits. High school students take AP to be accepted into prestigious colleges, but prestigious colleges don’t accept AP credits. Four years are miserably burdened with all-nighters, tears of stress, and internet searches of high paying jobs without a college degree.
Like most teenagers, however, we all have fallen into a trap of losing sleep for school and Netflix. We are romanticized with the idea of love stories like “High School Musical” or part-filled fun like in “Mean Girls.” We are punched in the face with reality as there are only unrequited crushes and study parties. With high expectations and a grim reality, suicide rates in high school students are steadily rising, according to Child Trends.
The stress and anxiety of high school is only amplified in glorified ideas of high school in media. Beautiful girls with toned stomachs and men in their 20s with abs and perfect skin grace the the small screen with weeks of fun and love like in “Riverdale.” When high school fails to meet expectations, high school students feel as if they are failing. Rather than seeing the flaws in media, high school students internalize the disappointment to themselves. They begin to believe like ‘I can’t handle all these AP classes and I don’t look as beautiful as these teenagers on TV.’
Media fails teenagers once again as more and more stars are unfortunately passing away such as Mac Miller and Robin Williams. Rather than have the conversation and reach out to those who struggle with depression or substance abuse, the media finds scapegoats and never sees the battle they fought. Mac Miller who had previously spoken about his substance abuse passed away the age of 26 from a suspected drug overdose; rather than honor his death to help those also struggling with substance abuse, tabloids and celebrity gossip blogs blame his ex-girlfriend, pop singer Ariana Grande as the reason behind this overdose.
Being a teenager in high school is already difficult enough, but with the stress of AP, the perfection that’s projected across media, and the failure to hold conversations and help those in need, APs and media prove to be a deadly mix. You are not alone and there is help.
If you or a loved one are considered committing suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860.
LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.