The Real Burden in the Backpacks

Students need time to decompress and relax a little

Doug Griswold illustration of stressed teenagers with happy-face masks. (Bay Area News Group/MCT)

(Bay Area News Group/MCT - with permission)

Doug Griswold illustration of stressed teenagers with happy-face masks. (Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Emily Akers, Staff Writer

The blare of an early morning alarm signals another day of school.   Sitting in the same old seats for hours, getting assigned pages of work, and dealing with difficult people is enough to kill any motivation you had left for the day. School brings on a lot of headaches. For many, academics is not the only source of stress.

“Students come to school with baggage in their backpacks,” says Ms. Kathleen Posk,  Abington High’s school psychologist. We all know that kids walk around with loads of textbooks and binders in their bags. But the weight of an algebra book cannot compare to the weight of a student’s own emotions. According to Posk, many students are challenged with more obstacles outside of the classroom, such as a tough home life, social life and their own internal struggles. Putting these problems on top of the stress of school are often detrimental to a student’s mental health.

With social media becoming a vital form of communication, it is often difficult for students to get away from social/internal issues.“This generation can’t always escape from their problems with social media around,” says Ms. Posk.  More social conflicts can arise from the power to hide behind a screen, rather than speak to the real person. Real life social skills are lost, making school taxing for some. A majority of things said on social media would never be uttered by people in real life. According to Ms. Posk, these issues cause school to become the source of anxiety and anger.

Students come to school with baggage in their backpacks”

— Ms. Kathleen Posk

Not every home is perfect and many arrive at school with a reminder of their home life in the back of their minds. Ms. Posk touched upon how resilient many students are.  “It’s amazing how much some of these kids go through every day and still sit in school for seven hours each day,” said Ms. Posk.

Some problems can’t always be fixed, but learning to cope with them can help in the long run. Always talk to someone about any problems you have whether it be a friend, a family member, a teacher, or a doctor. At AHS, Ms. Posk is always welcoming, and ready to listen to any student.

“Everyone needs time to decompress,” says Ms. Posk. When you have free time, let yourself relax a little and get your mind off of things. Go on a run. take a bath or listen to music. Do what you like best and use that as a relaxation method. If you have a favorite sport, practice it. If you enjoy art, paint a picture. Take some time for yourself and get away from things. Your mind and body will thank you for it.