Sometimes, It’s Better Not To Care


Laure Schulders

Freshman Tosin Oshin finishes her homework in the LRC .

Laure Schulders, Features Editor

With the start of 2022, new legislation goes into effect granting Illinois students up to five excused absences for mental health. However helpful this may be, it doesn’t address the root cause of the issue. In fact, it may exacerbate stress levels as students return to piles of uncompleted work.

One of the most prevalent factors contributing to student stress and burnout is the pressure of expectations – not only from adults, but from themselves.

Especially in an environment as competitive and full of opportunities as North, it can be easy to get caught up in the flurry of activity. Constant clubs, sports, honors classes, volunteering, trying to build the ever-important college application profile. It can be easy to get sucked into this mindset of perpetual productivity.

Posters are always plastered around classrooms telling students that “failure is just a stepping stone to success,” but internalizing such a difficult message takes more than just eye-catching fonts and colorful patterns.

Students can set such high expectations for themselves that when they get that one inevitable bad grade, self-confidence can come crashing down. Especially when taking high level classes, it’s a little irrational to expect only A’s. Yet time and time again, students set the bar out of reach.

This mindset can be especially prevalent during the early years of high school, as students adjust to the harsher demands while still maintaining expectations of success from middle school.

These high standards can seep into other areas of life and contribute even more to poor mental health. Pulling all-nighters, studying until you can’t see straight, stressing for days or even weeks about that one test question you didn’t feel too confident about – all of this only serves to further the issue.

The solution may seem counterintuitive, but, sometimes, it’s better not to care.

Detaching your sense of self-worth from your academic or extracurricular performance is no easy feat, but in the end, it is so worth it. It is accepting that sometimes, you mess up, but you pick yourself up and dust yourself off right after.

These kinds of life experiences teach lessons that no Crash Course video ever could: perseverance, dedication and grit.

People always say to look at the bigger picture: “That one math test won’t determine whether or not you go to college!” 

It can be hard to believe when your life is spent dealing with the details, but your impact as a person isn’t simply boiled down to a number on your transcript. The impact you leave is based on the people whose lives you touch and the relationships formed between friends, teachers, coaches, and family.