The Tipping Point: Is Pressure Pushing Youth Too Far?--Alexandra Egi
We all know that If you pressure cook an egg, it’ll crack. But what happens when you pressure cook a 19‐year old girl, who seemingly had the world? Madison Holleran was a student at the University of Pennsylvania and she was a star track and field athlete. Even while achieving great success both in the classroom and on the track, stress began to mount. As reported on the New York Post website, her father said that the pressure she faced in her classes were significantly more than she was used to. Madison's story came to a very tragic end when she jumped from a parking garage to her death ("Dad: Stress Drove UPenn Track Star to Suicide").
What if you pressure cook a 13‐year old girl who happened to be more physically developed than her classmates and, was bullied because of it? When Gabrielle Jackson’s mother called the school to deal with the problem, the school offered her only two suggestions: change schools or have a breast reduction surgery. It is ridiculous that instead of being treated like the victim she was, she was treated as the cause of the problem. Imagine being a 13‐year old girl and being given the ultimatum of either surgically altering your natural appearance or leaving your school. You are basically being told that your body is offensive to those around you. Imagine the anxiety she must have felt every day, not to mention the deep psychological scaring and Ill effects caused by the school's shameful and demoralizing act. In this case, Gabrielle was able to withstand the pressure; where others haven't been so fortunate ("Tammie Jackson: School Suggested 13‐Year‐Old Daughter Get Breast Reduction Surgery To Fight Bullying").
Maybe we think that boys are better equipped for pressure? Jun Jun was a 10 year old boy with his whole life ahead of him. Like many a 5th grade student, Jun Jun got in trouble for speaking during class. As punishment, Jun Jun was asked to write a 1,000‐word apology, a task that probably exceeds the capabilities of most 10‐year olds. However, when Jun Jun was unable to complete the task, instead of a mild reinforcement of lesson, his teacher told him that he should kill himself. One would expect that a teacher, an authoritative figure, would know better than to say such a thing to a child. Jun Jun took the teacher's words literally, and committed suicide. 10‐year old Jun Jun would still be alive today, if he was not put under so much pressure, intimidation and abuse, by someone who was supposed to help guide and mold him into a good citizen. Instead, his parents mourn the loss of their only child ("Ten‐year‐old Chinese Pupil Jumps to His Death from 30th Floor Window 'on Teacher's Orders' Because He Had Not Written an Apology for Talking in Class").
Why is it that there is so much pressure on young people these days? Does technology play a role? Or is it our schools? It is concerning that the place where children are sent to be educated, has increasingly become the place where the students’ problems originate from? In my opinion, technology, media, schools and family all play a role in this modern epidemic.
The need to have the perfect social life, the need to have the perfect body, the need to have the perfect family and the need to be the perfect student is what is driving our once seemingly perfect eggs to crack.
To protect our youth from undue pressure, and the myth of perfection, an open dialogue must exist between the school and home. Mandatory mental health education on the development of coping mechanisms, support systems and unity is a must, as is the provision of open platforms for the youth to express concerns and seek help, without the fear of being judged. In addition to teaching respect for others, we need to promote self‐respect and realize that it is not a given for all people. Above all, we need to empower the youth, and help them use social media as a healthy and fun invention, rather than as an instrument of negativity.
Babcock, Laurel, and Josh Saul. "Dad: Stress Drove UPenn Track Star to Suicide." New York Post. New York Post, 20 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://nypost.com/2014/01/20/dad‐track‐star‐killed‐self‐ over‐stress‐from‐upenn‐workload/>.
"Tammie Jackson: School Suggested 13‐Year‐Old Daughter Get Breast Reduction Surgery To Fight Bullying." Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2013%2F01%2F22%2Ftammie‐jackson‐school‐ sug_n_2526710.html>.
Thomas, Emma. "Ten‐year‐old Chinese Pupil Jumps to His Death from 30th Floor Window 'on Teacher's Orders' Because He Had Not Written an Apology for Talking in Class." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 01 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article‐ 2483313/Chinese‐boy‐commits‐suicide‐teachers‐orders.html>.
About the Author:
Alexandra Egi is seventeen years old, and a senior in high school. This is her debut novel, which was inspired by her love of writing. Like any other teenager, she has several hobbies which include art, basketball, and music. Her favorite entertainer is Drake. She is very thankful to God for all her blessings, a loving and very supportive family, and her love of writing. Alexandra's aspiration is to make a difference in the world.About The Lives We Lead:King’s Stand is one of the most exclusive prep schools in the country, but the lives behind these ivy-covered walls are far from perfect. Led by Ms. Hillcrest, a headmistress with a dark secret, the privileged students face difficult families, fear, heartbreak, abandonment, and uncertain futures. Eleventh graders Zoey, Madi, Jenni, and Ashley must each conquer their private troubles, tearing the group apart.
Moving past their issues will take friendship, dedication, and self-confidence. If the girls learn more about themselves, their relationships, and the importance of special bonds, they will come out of these battles stronger and ready to move into healthier adulthoods—but can they separate their egos and hurt feelings for their own good?