Before you can reach adulthood and enjoy its freedoms, you have to pass through high school.
For many, high school is a time of tribulation and terror.
For others, high school is one of the best times of their lives.
If you find yourself struggling in high school, then you may wonder why that’s the case when others are succeeding.
Why Is High School So Hard? (10 Reasons)
1. Few Friends
There’s no question that if you don’t have the support of friends in high school, it can make the experience a lot more difficult.
Friends are valuable in high school.
They can help you study for classes and blow off steam.
They make you feel less isolated and alone, which is especially important in high school.
There are a lot of changes that occur in high school.
There is a lot of pressure, too.
It can be difficult to talk to teachers and parents about the problems you’re experiencing in high school.
They don’t have the same perspective that you do.
Your friends, on the other hand, know exactly what you’re going through.
They’re going through it with you.
As such, having a group of friends makes high school a lot easier.
Without friends, you’ll find that high school is difficult.
There’s no one to talk about your problems with.
There’s no one to gripe about homework or projects with.
When you’re feeling stressed, you don’t have anyone to take your mind off of it or go have fun with.
As such, all you can focus on are the negative aspects of high school.
You have no one to make fond high school memories with.
Having friends can change all that.
Even when certain parts of high school get tough, they always have your back.
High school is hard when you don’t have any friends.
2. Little Support At Home
High school is also hard when you don’t have any support at home.
Identities start to become more defined in high school.
When your hormones start to kick into play, you might start to feel certain ways about certain people.
If you don’t get support at home to feel the way that you do, it can make high school hard, too.
You’re feeling a lot of pressure to be a certain way by your peers and by your parents.
This is also true of more mundane things.
If you’re experiencing a tough time at school and your parents aren’t there to lend you support, it can make the experience even more difficult.
Your parents are usually the ones who protect you.
High school marks a time when they’re no longer able to protect you as much as they might like.
It’s hard to protect a child from their own feelings of depression and despair, for example.
Since they’re not always with you at school, they also can’t be there if you get bullied.
Some parents also have to work extra hard to make ends meet.
They may rely on you to cook for yourself and essentially to become an adult a bit earlier than you should.
This can make high school hard because you find yourself having to take care of yourself at home as well.
You don’t catch a break where you can relax.
Instead, you have to take care of school-related things and take care of the house.
Not having support from your parents can make high school more difficult than it should be.
3. First Child
If you’re the eldest child in your family, then you’re also going to find that high school might be a bit harder than if you were the second or third child of the family.
That’s because you’re the parents’ first kid.
They’re basically experimenting with you.
If something goes wrong, they know what they need to change for the second child.
You’re basically forging the path for your younger siblings to follow.
That can make certain things about high school difficult.
For one, you have the hard job of setting a reputation for your family.
If you perform well in school, then teachers are likely to look favorably at your siblings.
They expect the same sort of thing.
That also goes for sports.
You may have to work extra hard to prove that you’re a capable athlete.
Your siblings might have to work a little less hard because the coach expects them to be as successful as you were.
Younger siblings also have it a bit easier with friend groups.
You’re the one who has to make friends out of the box.
Siblings can easily become friends with younger siblings of your friends.
You make that introduction for them.
Finally, you’re the one responsible for getting everyone around.
Since high school is usually when you learn how to drive and get your license, it falls to you to ensure your siblings get where they need to go.
As the first child, you have a few more responsibilities than your younger siblings.
These responsibilities and experiences make high school a bit harder.
4. Parental Pressure
High school is already difficult on its own, but it becomes exceptionally hard when students have a lot of pressure coming from their moms and/or dads on top of it.
Parents either expect a lot from their children or let them make their own decisions.
Some fall in the middle as well.
Parents who expect a lot from their children put a ton of pressure on them.
Those children might have expectations to get certain grades in all their classes.
They might be expected to join certain sports and perform well in that sport.
Other parents might expect their children to go to a certain college and apply for it at the end of high school.
Those expectations make high school hard because it puts a lot of pressure on the student.
They have to perform their best 100% of the time to ensure they don’t fail.
If they feel as though failing will make their parents disappointed in them, then they can experience some real angst and despair when the inevitable happens.
Experiencing a lot of parental pressure can completely ruin a person’s high school experience.
They may not be able to take classes that they want to take because their parents have goals for them.
They might not be able to make friends with the people they want to make friends with because their parents expect them to hang out with a certain group of people.
Parental pressure can make high school extremely hard.
5. Changing Friend Groups
A lot of things change in high school.
It encompasses four years in which your body goes through subtle and not-so-subtle changes.
As you change, you might start to realize that you no longer get along with your current group of friends.
That can cause a lot of angst which can make high school difficult.
For one, you may choose to leave the friend group.
If you don’t have other groups, then you’re on your own.
That can feel isolating and terrifying in a place that thrives on social groups.
If you choose to remain with your friend group, then you might experience a lot of pressure to behave a certain way that you don’t want to behave.
That can cause a lot of despair and anxiety, too.
You may even be unsure why you don’t enjoy your friends like you used to.
You might think that something is wrong with you.
Those are big questions to ask students who are emotionally still children.
High school doesn’t always help people stay with friend groups either.
Each year, students find themselves with a new group of classmates.
While they might have a few friends in the class, it isn’t something that’s guaranteed.
They may be even more split off from their friends if the school splits lunches.
If the friend group doesn’t share an activity, there’s a good chance that it will fall apart.
If you’re not able to spend time together, then there’s nothing keeping you together.
High school is hard because it can sometimes result in friend group changes.
6. Overcrowded Classrooms
Another major factor that can make high school difficult is overcrowded classrooms.
Not every high school experiences overcrowding problems, but many of them do.
This makes high school hard for a few reasons.
The most pressing is that the teacher has to split their attention between several students.
It’s only inevitable that the teacher is going to overlook certain students.
Some students are shy and don’t like asking for help.
In a smaller classroom, a teacher can still focus on them and encourage them to participate.
In larger classrooms, the teacher is too busy wrangling the classroom to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Boisterous or troublesome students might get attention from the teacher, but those who are quiet and behave might get left behind.
This makes high school hard because it means some students might be unable to grasp certain concepts.
Since they’re struggling, their grades are going to suffer, too.
Another reason overcrowded classrooms make high school hard is the noise and level of distractions.
Large classrooms packed with students are going to have more distractions.
You have a small room packed with students.
A student who is already easily distracted is going to find plenty of things to further distract them in an environment like that.
As such, they might be unable to focus on the lesson and have failing grades.
Finally, the pace of overcrowded classrooms is sometimes faster.
The teacher has to ensure everyone moves from one module to the next.
Since they’re handling a lot of students, the teacher might need to instruct at a faster pace than normal to make up for time spent doing things like taking attendance or passing out papers.
High school is hard when students have to sit in overcrowded classrooms.
7. Low Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is something that gets built in high school.
Before high school, it doesn’t exist quite as strongly.
Students are still too young to think about themselves like that.
In high school, self-esteem starts to rear its ugly head.
Some students naturally have a lot of self-esteem.
They might find high school easier because they have confidence in themselves and believe they will succeed.
Some students naturally have low self-esteem.
They might struggle in school because they don’t have confidence in themselves.
They don’t believe that they have what it takes to get things right.
This can also lead to problems with bullying.
Bullies love to prey on students with low self-esteem.
They’re less likely to stand up for themselves.
If a student experiences bullying in high school, this makes the experience a lot more difficult.
They may feel afraid for their life.
They might worry about experiencing pain.
That tends to trump concerns over things like grades.
As such, the student might start to fail their classes because they’re so worried about the bully.
High school is hard when a student suffers from low self-esteem.
8. Confusing Hormones
Another important part of high school is the development of hormones.
While some students may start to develop them as early as middle school, it’s during high school when they really make themselves known.
This is when students start to realize their own sexual orientation or lack of one.
People no longer just become friends.
They’re sometimes perceived as potentially romantic or sexual partners.
Hormones do a lot more than just make students want to date each other.
They can also cause depression, anxiety, or even anger.
Schools don’t always handle talking about these changes well.
Parents may be unsure how to address them, too.
As such, the student has to navigate it themselves.
It can make high school hard because you may feel certain things but have no idea how to express or handle those emotions.
Hormones also trigger certain physical changes in the body.
If you hit puberty a bit too early, then you can look out of place among your peers.
That can cause some dysphoria and anxiety as well.
High school becomes hard because you’re not just worrying about exams.
Your own body is making high school weird and hard.
9. Prep For College
High school is the final phase of education before you’re set loose in the world.
For many students, it marks the final phase before college.
Many high schools determine their curriculums with the belief that students are going to attend college.
Because of that, they make a lot of their classes include college-related topics.
For example, many schools will have advanced classes meant to mimic a college course.
If a student takes that course, then they might find it exceptionally challenging.
Other schools might cut more enjoyable classes and replace them with classes meant to prepare students for college.
This becomes a problem because not every student wants to go to college.
For example, some schools might cut art programs to provide more college-focused classes.
A student who wants to become an artist won’t benefit from that cut.
Because schools focus on college, it can make learning more difficult for students.
10. Forced Learning
A final reason high school is hard is that it doesn’t let students learn about the things that they want to learn about.
Thanks to standardized testing, all students have to learn certain modules, then get tested on them.
While it is helpful in determining how students are performing compared to each other, those subjects aren’t necessarily things a student needs to know to survive in the world.
For example, there are very few schools that teach classes about taxes and personal finance.
However, that would arguably impact a student far more than certain types of math that they’re not going to use in the future.
A lot of schools also have to cut more enjoyable classes due to budget cuts.
Art, language, and music classes are usually among the first to go.
Students who have an interest in those subjects are no longer able to learn something that they enjoy.
Instead, they have to learn topics that don’t interest them or aren’t relevant to them.
This makes high school hard because it doesn’t engage the student.
The way that the material gets taught is another problem.
Some teachers simply teach straight from a textbook.
They don’t pursue different ways to present information to students.
As such, learning is more about memorization rather than developing skills like critical thinking.
Students who aren’t good at memorization aren’t going to perform well in high school.
High school is one of the most transformative periods in a person’s life.
It isn’t always a good time either.
Understanding the reasons high school is hard can help teachers, parents, and students make changes that can make high school a more enjoyable experience for everyone.