Are Studies More Important Than Your Mental Health?

For all the students and parents, a little food for thought.

There is no debate on the fact that studies nowadays have become tougher and more competitive, compared to what they were, say, 15 years back. This has definitely taken its tow on the students, who now have become a very common target of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

A recent study shows that 82% of the students face anxiety and stress. Hence it is no surprise to know that suicide levels have also starkly risen, where approximately 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, making it equivalent to roughly one death due to suicide per 40 seconds.

These are alarming rates and if this is how it remains, it will not lead to a fruitful future for this generation and only God knows how they will cope with the hardships in future. The World Health Organization has done research and found out that suicide is the second major cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.

I remember that just a couple of days back, I saw two 15 year old students literally having a panic attack because they were so scared of the marks their teacher was going to give them in a recent 10 mark test. They were so fearful that they would fail this one test and they believed that this one grade will define so much for them. They also repeatedly kept on saying that if they failed, their parents would severely punish them for letting their grades slip.

Only in this moment did I truly realize that one grade does not define who you are for the rest of your life, it does not define whether you have the capability to do something or not and I wondered how this education system has made us all live under this illusion that one grade printed on a flimsy, white sheet of paper will determine the life, path and career an individual is doomed to take. I realized that failing in one minor school test is not a big deal, actually, it is not important at all if it effects my health in such a negative way.

Then I also realized how stupid we used to be in our senior school, when we used to stay up late at night, sacrificing our sleep and a hearty dinner with the whole family only to crazily study for a 15 mark math test, in which no matter how hard we tried, we could never score a perfect 15 out of 15.

I have seen so many people around me who have unwillingly given up on their dreams and aspirations, who have been lost in finding their goal in life again after the education system made them believe that they were unfit for their initial dream and I have seen people having breakdowns after not meeting the existent-but-non existent standards and expectations of society. I have seen the most creative minds being confined within the suffocating box this system binds us too, I have seen hope leaving the eyes of the -once- most hopeful person, and only after all of this have I realized that grades do not matter as much as your health does, as much as you do.

So I ask you all this one question: Will your grades matter after you have departed from this world due to suicide? Will a single alphabet on a white sheet matter after mentally torturing yourself for so many years and then not being able to live your dreams?

Additionally, to all the parents who continuously pressurize their children to be an all-rounder, to score full marks in every assignment and test and then after doing all of this, also uptake an extra-curricular activity and ace that too, with all due respect, I just want you to know that this is just not possible and what you are demanding from a 13-17 year old child is something extremely impractical.

Every scientist will confirm that no two brains are the same, so parents need to understand that every child has different talents and capabilities. If your child is not good at math, they might be amazing in drama or acting or music or arts or psychology or sports, you need to realize that the careers in the world do not end simply at engineering, business, or medical, there is a whole big world waiting for your child to choose something they like to do.

So to all the parents, I want to leave them with one question:

Is it more important to see your child grow up to be a happy and stable-headed person or; one who has all As in their exams, yet is unhappy and is subject to some serious mental illness?

Because after pressurizing them to push themselves beyond their capacity for getting a perfect grade every time is literally dooming them to a future like the latter in the question.