Boise Highlights

Boise High: A Culture of Stress

AP+Language+and+Composition+students+work+diligently+on+a+group+project.
AP Language and Composition students work diligently on a group project.

AP Language and Composition students work diligently on a group project.

Photo Credit: Sofi Serio

Photo Credit: Sofi Serio

AP Language and Composition students work diligently on a group project.

Sofi Serio, Editor-in-chief

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In the words of a substitute who once attended Boise High, our school is “a microcosm of overachieving.”

In the Washington Post’s annual list of America’s most challenging high schools, Boise High ranks among the top 9% of public high schools in the nation, or approximately 603 out of 22,000 high schools.

Additionally, using the scale the Washington Post uses in order to calculate those rankings, Boise Weekly cites that “Boise High had an AP ratio to student of 2.963; Borah High had an AP test ratio to student of 1.261; Capital High had an AP test ratio to student of 1.304; and Timberline had an AP test ratio to student of 1.979.”

It is clear then, that Boise High is academically rigorous and considerably more so than other Boise Schools. A “culture of stress” is obviously present at Boise High, and it most often drives unhealthy amounts of anxiety.

As junior Quinn White puts it, “I think we have a really academic community here, and students hold themselves to a higher standard than they might elsewhere.”

Sofia Carlson, a ninth grader at North Junior High, talks about how the stress sometimes presents itself early on, with ninth graders consistently over analyzing every grade received on a test.

“I don’t think it is healthy for kids to put the pressure of college on themselves super early on. I think that if they just stress about how it is going to be harder in high school and how they need to get into a good college, and they don’t actually put work, time, and effort into achieving their goals, then it is unhealthy. Otherwise, I think it is fine because they are learning to deal with stress efficiently and effectively and as a result, they most likely are doing better in school as well.”

Although some level of stress can be good, as Carlson points out, it is important to determine what constitutes a healthy amount of stress and a dangerous amount of stress.

One source of stress could be the increasing expectation to take as many AP classes as one can handle. (or maybe not)

It starts young, too, with 9th graders at North now being offered the option to take AP Human Geography.

According to Carlson, “I think some do [take it for the AP credit], others might be actually interested in it. But I think there are some kids for sure who take AP Human Geography just because of the AP.”

To Quinn’s point, “I think we just create this culture of stress because we’re in our little bubble and we start comparing ourselves to other peers who are also very high achieving, soon it just escalates.”

While it’s crystal clear that stress is abundant at Boise High, White offers a solution for curbing stress.

“When people really start getting into that attitude of “I-need-to-get-into-college”, they forget that what’s actually going to matter long term is them following what they want to do.”

With that, it is meaningful to remember that the most important goal is following what you’re passionate about, not following what will make you look best for a college that likely isn’t the place for you.

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Boise High: A Culture of Stress