Why Is High School So Hard? (11 Reasons Why)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

High school is a vital part of many of our lives. Unless you choose to drop out or simply obtain a GED, high school is required and it’s no easy task to complete.

People face different throughout high school. In some cases, it’s just mental struggles while others experience different struggles. Here is why it is so hard.

Why Is High School So Hard?

1. Early Mornings

Let’s face it. We are not all morning people. The majority of high schoolers are not morning people.

School starts early in the morning and this can be challenging for students to accomplish. In some cases, the struggle comes from late nights or even not sleeping well.

As much as you try to train yourself to get a good night’s sleep, things like sports and extracurricular activities are likely to have a student up late. Then, there are the night owls.

Getting up early enough to make it to school and have an effective day of learning is a definite challenge. These kids are still growing and still need their rest to be successful.

Some schools start as early as 7 AM, which means that kid is likely waking up at 6 or earlier. They have to be sleeping by 10 PM to even get a full night’s rest.

2. Alone In A Sea Of People

This is perhaps one of the most challenging stages of life. Whether you go to a small school or a huge school, you often feel alone.

The thing is, you are likely in a sea of people. Chances are the majority of those people feel the same way that you do, which is lonely.

Feeling alone when you’re surrounded by people can be crushing. Particularly if you try to be involved and still feel that way.

We set such high expectations for these kids. They have a lot on their shoulders, and it can be very hard for them.

3. Work Is Book-Focused

Here is one thing that the many educational facilities haven’t quite picked up on. We see this a lot.

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High schools tend to have a central focus on pushing book smarts. While these are necessary, we tend to forget the importance of hands-on learning and practices.

Book learning is an essential part of high school. However, the system could be improved by adding real-life skills to the curriculums.

This is a great way to appeal to a variety of people but also hone in on different ways that we learn best. It also teaches valuable things.

4. Hefty Goals To Meet

It seems like much of high school is about status. If you want to attend a great college, you first have to excel in high school.

You are forced to be active in a variety of clubs in activities and spend your time studying to be in high-level classes.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with awesome achievements. But are putting too much strain on the shoulders of these young kids in doing so?

There has to be a happy medium in which we encourage goals but don’t negate students whose goals are not to get the highest scores and be in every single club the school offers.

5. Lack Of Interest

Classes can get pretty boring. If you’re stuck for 8 hours of your day in classes loaded with lectures, there is going to be a lack of interest.

Now, there will always be someone bored in every class. But how can we make the subject matter more interesting or more exciting?

Rather than sticking to a mundane or boring lecture, perhaps interactive activities could make a difference.

That being said, learning will always have that boring teacher. But if a balance could be found, there might be a more consistent interest in high school along the way.

6. People Can Be Mean

People Can Be Mean

The unfortunate truth is that there are bullies, mean girls, mean boys, and people throughout high school.

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These are sometimes the years when you deal with people at their meanest. You have cliques and groups to contend with and it’s easy to fall prey to their antics.

Sadly, so many people remember these things more than anything else from high school. It can be the bane of the entire four years, leading to a miserable experience.

No matter how structured a school is against fighting things like this, it still happens. With the rise of social media, it seems to only be growing.

7. Too Many Leaders

When we enter the workforce, we have one primary boss. While there may be several supervisors, you typically report to a specific individual.

It’s not quite like that in high school. You have the principal and the counselors. Ultimately, you answer to them. But it doesn’t stop there.

You also have a leader in every single one of your classes. It can be incredibly overwhelming. Every leader has different requirements and different standards to adhere to.

8. Time Limitations

On top of multiple teachers, there are some stringent time limitations. You have only a few minutes to move from class to class.

And even if you can stay late after a class, that instructor likely has a new class coming in so you only have a couple of minutes. Some of them are available before or after school but not all.

The system is not set up in a way that is conducive to helping people when they need it. You rotate quickly, you have limited time on a single subject’s lesson.

In addition, you have no time to decompress and prepare for the next rushed class.

If you need a bit of extra help or your brain feels overwhelmed, it’s easy to simply get lost in the system.

9. What About Lunch?

High school is hard because you either have to hope you like the lunch options available or pack your lunch.

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The truth is that school lunches are not always great. Sometimes, they are downright awful. A growing and hungry high schooler needs sustenance throughout the day.

An awful lunch could easily ruin your day. Not only that, but it’s the only real food break you get. If you feel the need for a snack throughout the day, your options are limited.

Lunchtimes have been shortened so drastically that you barely have time to scarf down the food, even when it isn’t appealing.

10. Dress Codes

There is certainly a need for dress codes. However, those dress codes can also be challenging for the students.

Some dress codes have become extremely strict while others are too lenient. The dress code alone is bound to make at least one student feel as though they don’t fit in.

Again, dress codes are necessary but where do we find a balance that doesn’t make high school even harder?

11. Peer Pressure

In high school, students experience massive amounts of peer pressure. Unfortunately, many give in simply to feel approved.

The rise in feeling forced to do things you don’t want to is awful. A kid feels like they have to vape to fit it or shun a nice kid for their group’s affection.

It’s an awful line to tow.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why college is so hard, why organic chemistry is so hard, and why physics is so hard.


High school is hard, there is no doubt about that. The truth is that it only seems to be getting harder.

These kids feel pressure from every different direction at a time when they simply want to survive.


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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