Prioritizing your health


In high school, students often put off many necessary priorities in order to uphold their self established expectations of academic success. Academic success is important, but nothing is more critical than your own health, both mentally and physically. (Cartoon by Lillie Bobé)

Having a strong work ethic is incredibly important. Being able to work through your different priorities to maintain your expectations of success is critical in life. This being said, in the world of high school where students balance a variety of responsibilities as well as their own expectations of themselves, it is incredibly important to understand how seeing results is not always indicative of a healthy habit.

In school, it’s common to hear students repeatedly talk about how busy they are and how they are simply trying to make it to the end of the week. Oftentimes they also mention how this process is making them miserable. They shun any personal desires or necessities in order to fulfill their expectations of success. This applies to almost any facet of their lives, whether it is sports, academics or health.

While it is important that you feel fulfilled in what you do, and sometimes having to work incredibly hard to meet a goal is important for challenging yourself and learning to overcome obstacles, it is never worth it to put your own mental or physical health on the line for just one aspect of your life.

“I see a lot of this behavior with students who are trying to be perfect. Whether it is sports or school, they sacrifice being a kid because they feel they have to be perfect,” guidance counselor Cynthia Violett said. “That takes a lot of energy and time, and they think that is success when success is really about being happy. Success isn’t saying, ‘I’m a straight-A student’ or ‘I’m number one in my sport.’ It’s just being happy.”

Beyond any school expectations, your own mental health comes first, however, this concept goes beyond school. When it comes to one’s health, especially as a young person in a time of the most change, living an unhealthy lifestyle to achieve a desired body type is far more harmful than many believe.

Being unhappy with your appearance or weight is incredibly common in high school, and while it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to change your lifestyle in order to see results, many people go about this process in a damaging way. Some develop eating disorders because they view that as a way to lose weight fast with the least amount of work. This is not at all the case and is an unsustainable way to go about losing weight, as it is incredibly detrimental to your growth and health, both mentally and physically. Physically recovering from eating disorders can take months or even years, and mentally recovering can take even longer. The tradeoff is in no way worth it.

“Everybody is always looking for quick results, but that is not always the best [idea],” Violett said. “Now that I’m older, I think it is most important to keep this concept in mind [when it comes to] your physical health because things that you do to yourself when you’re younger will impact you later in life. It’s important you’re physically healthy and doing things that are beneficial for you.”

It can feel rewarding to meet your expectations, but when these expectations cause copious amounts of stress or in any way jeopardize your mental or physical health, it is necessary to adjust your expectations.

“So many kids don’t know how to fail,” Violett said. “It’s okay to fail. That’s called resilience.”


Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Editorial Board and are not necessarily the opinion of Kaneland administration, staff, students or parents.