Written by Sarah Frank.
Mental health and education go hand in hand. Often times, students feel an immense amount of pressure to succeed in school. There’s this idea enforced on us that everyone must get As, must take hard classes, must go to college, must achieve what society considers to be great. The stress of this can take its toll in varying degrees but most if not all students feel the pressure in some way. Even more than that, kids with completely different educational backgrounds are pitted together and held to the same standard. How can kids who can’t afford a textbook compete with kids who go home to a mansion?
It’s like everyone is playing baseball and needs to get a run but some people get to start on 3rd base and some people have to go the extra mile to achieve the same thing. This is the perfect analogy for education inequity: the uneven distribution of resources and materials needed for school.
With the pandemic, education inequity is exacerbated. Some kids can’t stay home to learn safely and even for those that can, it’s really hard to learn virtually. That’s why I started Simple Studies, a nonprofit that offers a ton of free resources to help even out the playing field.
I started it myself by making a website for my AP study guides. My friends wanted to contribute, and their friends wanted to contribute, and so on. I took to social media and spread the word in every way I could.
From there, it blossomed. Now, Simple Studies Inc has 200+ original study guides, a blog with advice articles, and study buddy matching. We have college application tips, free tutoring for every common class, standardized testing resources, a discord community with over 10,000 members, and daily study session video calls to encourage productivity.
Doing well in school is important, but it should never take precedent over mental health. Too often, kids feel a strong need to do well. Some of us sit in front of screens all day, our eyes flitting from one assignment to the next and straining from the long hours. Others have to figure out how to navigate a completely new in person environment. No matter what we do, there is difficulty and difficulty creates stress. It influences our thoughts, our actions, our ability to be happy and to relax.
One of the reasons I created Simple Studies is to help alleviate that inevitable stress of school. Students should be excited to learn, not anxious to try.
Our discord (https://discord.gg/simplestudies) specifically has been a place for growth, connection, and learning. It’s become a community, one that helps every individual feel less alone. Every student struggles, no matter how smart they are. Having this kind of community has done wonders for alleviating anxiety and pressure. We are all in this together.
The Simple Studies website can be found here: https://simplestudies.edublogs.org. Hopefully it can help you tap into your academic potential and alleviate any school-related stress.