English, math, history, science and self esteem: the subjects that lead to school success


Graphic by Rick Nease/ MCT Campus

by Erin Lafferty, Reporter

The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/5UPlF

Four percent. That’s the global percentage of women who consider themselves to be beautiful. The other 96% think that they aren’t pretty enough, smart enough or good enough. However, 80% of women think that every woman and young girl has something beautiful and unique that they cannot acknowledge or see.

Self esteem is defined as the confidence and satisfaction in one’s self. It is also referred to as self respect. When people have higher self esteem they are more likely to safely participate in activities outside of their comfort zone, and tend to be happier.

Many high schools are educating and promoting awareness about self esteem. Mrs. Jessica Thornton, a Frederick based social worker,  said, “These issues are more in the ‘mainstream’ right now because of topics such as bullying/bullying prevention, and even because of disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”

Thornton explains that low self esteem affects a person’s ability to interact with others, maintain a relationship with strangers, friends, and family. Low self esteem can also be an effect of depression. Those who experience depression and low self esteem can have awful consequences such as traumatic hair and weight loss. Whether someone has a disorder or not self esteem affects his/her life and behaviors.

As students approach their teenage years, they drift  away from parental guidance and begin to think and act for themselves. As independence increases, so does the need for high self esteem. If a teen has high self esteem, it is easier to make good decisions and strong values. Teens who have high self esteem also respond better to the negative effects of peer pressure.

Even though self esteem is an ageless issue, it seems to have a larger social effect on teenagers. Thornton has worked with all different groups of people during her career as a social worker, but she said, “The group that esteem was most addressed with were teenagers, due to a current initiative of bullying and bullying prevention.”

Social media has a large impact on a teen’s self esteem. The University of Pittsburgh teamed up with Science Daily and found that the number of likes a teen gets on a Facebook or Instagram post increases or decreases their self esteem. In a survey concerning  how close teens are with their Facebook friends, results showed that those who have closer ties with their “friends” have a higher self esteem.

In a recent study by Dove it self esteem was proven to be low in girls as they reach puberty and experience social changes. Seven in ten girls believe that they don’t live up to society’s expectations. This prevents them from going to school and drives them to self harm and/or isolation.

Don’t be fooled: boys have low self esteem, too, but it can be overshadowed by the intense issue of low self esteem in girls. Boys worry about their appearance, as well, but in a different way. Thirty Eight percent of middle and high school boys have been reported to using protein supplements and Six percent  have admitted to using steroids. Boys tend to worry about a different kind of appearance: muscles.

Confidence is a hard trait for teenagers to possess. Senior Mike Fink said, “I just don’t care what others think about me,” but Mike hasn’t always had high self esteem. He said he’s only had high confidence in high school, and it has taken time for him to feel this way. Mike has been able to gain self esteem by getting involved in school activities such as baseball and Unified Sports.

High self esteem is difficult for both girls and boys to attain. Fink says that he thinks, “it is equally as hard for both girls and guys to have high self esteem.” Both boys and girls, men and women are focused on what others think and their appearance.

However, self esteem isn’t based on looks alone. It is linked with other factors such as amount of daily exercise, and social interaction and relationships with family and friends.In a recent study by NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information, it was found that low self esteem can be associated with watching high levels of television.

Another reason why teens have a low self esteem is because they are always surrounded by pressures. Students want to be in the “in crowd” and often change their values to fit the mold. Some wear certain clothes or curse to blend in.

If you or someone you know is in need of a confidence boost these few steps can help:

  1. Exercise
  2. Surround yourself with those you love.
  3. Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself and you’re comfortable in.
  4. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep.
  5. Get involved in new activities.
  6. Only worry about what you think.