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Students who participate in this are 54% more likely to earn a high school diploma, twice as likely to attain a college degree, and 46% more likely to have a full-time job at the age of 25.

What is it?

Social-emotional learning: the ability to be aware of both our own and others’ emotions, and use that information to manage ourselves and our relationships. When we are aware of how we think and feel, we can improve our sense of well-being. Well-being affects all aspects of your life, including your ability to be successful in your future career pursuits.

Generation Z has multiple stressors affecting their mental health. 1 in 5 youth have a diagnosable emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorder, and 1 in 10 adolescents have a serious mental health issue impairing their function at home or in school. Nationally, 40% of high school graduates have some emotional, behavioral, or mental disorder.

These mental health disorders impact student success. That’s why proper mental health care is essential to help you manage your emotions, consider ways to solve programs, and get along well with others. This is even more important as students prepare to go to college – where, if living on campus, they have a new “space” away from the support of family, high school friends or positive adult influences.

So, how would you rate your own emotional health? Test your emotional awareness in each of the five social-emotional awareness areas (answers at the end).

  1. Self-awareness is the ability to identify emotions, recognize strengths and needs, and develop a growth mindset. You do poorly on a science test, so you:
    1. throw it in the trash and stop giving effort in that class
    2. feel crummy in the moment, but stop to talk to the teacher afterward to ask for help
  1. Self-management is the ability to manage emotions, control impulses, and set goals. When you start to feel angry, you:
    1. take a few deep breaths before responding
    2. scream at those around you
  1. Social awareness is the ability to see things from another person’s perspective, show empathy, and appreciate diversity. You hurt someone’s feelings, so you:
    1. pretend nothing happened; it’s no big deal
    2. tell them they need to “toughen up”
    3. apologize
  1. Relationship skills involve the ability to communicate, cooperate, and resolve conflict. Your friend is telling you a really boring story, so you
    1. interrupt often
    2. make eye contact and try to listen
    3. ignore them by looking at your phone
  1. Responsible decision-making is the ability to identify consequences of personal behavior. You thought you set your alarm clock last night, but it didn’t go off and now you’re late, so you:
    1. Blame your younger sibling; they’re always messing with your stuff!
    2. Apologize for being late and accept the tardy you receive at school.

(Answers: 1. b, 2. a, 3. c, 4. b, 5. b)

How did you score? Remember: we aren’t born knowing how to manage emotions, solve problems, and get along with others. Social and emotional learning helps students acquire tools to use in social interactions and to manage their emotional responses. Things such as setting goals, social awareness, and taking responsibility for oneself are imperative to maintaining healthy relationships and self-care. Social-emotional awareness also positively influences college-going. Students who can cope with their stress have been found to transition to college more successfully and perform better academically.

Talk with your family, a school counselor, or another trusted adult about your social-emotional health, and seek out resources to help you be emotionally healthy and pursue your college and career dreams.

By Kristin Ageton