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Uppers, Downers & All Points in Between





Under Pressure:
family life, friends and clubs make school difficult
Author: Serafin Villanueva





“Hey, do you want to ditch class and go to the beach? 
The weather is nice. Or how about the mall?”

“No, I can’t, I’ve got a test to take in Algebra.”

This can be a typical scenario for a high school 
student. Combined with a busy schedule and the 
responsibilities and pressures from family and 
extracurricular activities, making the grade is 
difficult for many high school students. Having to do 
these types of things while dealing with school can be 
frustrating and tiring.

Throughout my experiences in school I have faced these 
obstacles continuously. Dealing with pressure to do 
well on tests and to get my homework done on time 
really made me tired throughout my day. Almost all my 
classes are college prep, which means I have to work 
harder to earn good grades or else I won’t be able to 
get into a university. I get a lot more pressure from 
all my classes to get my homework completed on time. 

Many Latino high school graduates are the first in 
their families to go to college. This new generation 
of high school students receives a lot of pressure 
from parents to fulfill the dream of being accepted 
into a university. Having all that weight on their 
shoulders actually makes it harder to do well in 
school. Many parents don’t know how hard school can be 
for their children compared to when they were going to 
school. 

My parents tell me, “Tienes que ser bien en la escuela 
y ser un buen ejemplo para tus hermanos.” I have to do 
well in school and be a good example for my brothers 
and sisters, they say. They advise me to participate 
in school programs so I can use them on my college 
application. I joined clubs like MESA, EAOP, and MSA 
and was on the football team. But in the end it was 
hard to keep up with meetings, homework, friends, 
practice, etc. 

When I needed help with my classes I knew where to go. 
I went to after school tutorial, but they couldn’t be 
with me constantly since there were other students who 
needed help as well. I couldn’t ask my parents for 
help because they don’t have the proper education, 
experience or knowledge to help me. My parents expect 
me to know everything, but I really don’t know much.

As a sophomore, I have learned things that prepared me 
for college. I have seen things happen in life that 
can ruin someone’s chances to go to a university and 
can ultimately ruin their lives. Drugs, pregnancy, and 
bad friends are some of the things students can 
encounter on their way. They can take the easy way out 
or continue on the long, hard road to success. But 
having an education will pay off once they graduate 
from a university. People with a college degree make 
43 percent more money than those who only have a high 
school diploma, and 58 percent more than those who 
never graduated high school, according to the U.S. 
Census Bureau. Not only will a career pay well for 
college graduates, it will also show their 
achievements from the hard work and dedication they 
gave. That’s my goal; I want to show everyone in the 
future that I really did it. 

Unfortunately, right now my chances of getting into a 
university are growing slim because I did not focus on 
what I needed to do in school, but I have my 
priorities straightened out now. I have to work twice 
as hard to recover from all the things that I have 
missed. This is why it is important for freshmen to 
not slack off and start the year poorly. They won’t 
have to deal with having to go to summer school to get 
credits or have to do extra work to raise their 
grades. If students start their first year of high 
school well and continue to work hard for the next 
three years, they won’t have as many problems getting 
into a good university. They will do better in their 
career and live to see many more achievements in their 
life.