Opinion: Students’ self confidence is vital to overall health


Mikalah Kostalas

Teenagers’ mental health, and their self confidence, is heavily impacted by the messages they receive at school.

Elizabeth Atanosian, Staff Writer

Self-esteem and self confidence are necessary for students to take risks, no matter how big or how small, in their learning and to come back after failure. Although the mental health of students is beginning to acquire more attention from school districts, student confidence continues to be overlooked, proving to be a larger issue in the long run.
As students progress through their educational career, the workload begins to build and increase, which can cause a surreal amount of stress, anxiety, and self doubt. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), students begin to make self deprecating comments such as, “I can’t do this,” “I always do everything wrong,” or “I’m stupid” when it comes to their school work and multiple other aspects of school.
Students with low self-esteem tend to do very well in school, until a sudden drop in their performance occurs. They are frequently unable to tolerate typical levels of frustration and begin to worry that their previous successes were a fluke.
In order to cope with stressful situations and cover up their lack of confidence, they begin to pretend that they don’t care about their work or performance in school.
It is incredibly important that teachers take steps in encouraging their students. Pointing out even just the small achievements they notice in their students and showcasing or displaying some of their exceptional work will go a long way in boosting their confidence.
On the other hand, teachers must be careful when it comes to praising their students. Focusing their attention on just a select few students can be a severe blow to the other students’ self esteem, especially if they’re doing their best work. This may lead them to believe that their work isn’t good enough or that they’re doing something wrong in comparison to the others.
Teachers need to be sure to keep an eye out for signs that there may be a greater underlying cause to their students’ low self esteem. If their students continue to show very low self confidence levels or the severity of their doubt increases, it is important that they reach out to the school mental health professionals, especially if there are concerns about the student engaging in self-harming behaviors.
According to Marlborough Schools, higher levels of self confidence lead to less fear and anxiety, improved motivation, more resilience, and improved relationships.
Students with high self confidence will be able to explore new subjects and hobbies, and follow their dreams without worrying about how others may view or perceive them. They will feel a sense of accomplishment that will keep them pushing through, whenever anything becomes stressful or difficult.
Students will also begin to accept that failure is a part of life, leading to taking more chances, which can allow for the development of stronger relationships with their peers, in turn, they are able to embrace who they really are.
Without support and encouragement from their peers and teachers, students will continue to struggle with their self image, which will follow them into adulthood. It is incredibly important to make sure that students stay out of their own heads in order to prevent overthinking and the formation of self doubt and self deprecation. If that can be done, there is a much higher chance that both current and upcoming students will be able to step into their adult lives with a better image of themselves and what the future holds for them.