Balancing Brilliance at St. Georges

How St George’s Students deal with Work Life Balance.
Balancing Brilliance at St. Georges

St. George’s School, celebrated for its academic excellence and high-achieving student body, embodies ambition and diligence. While the School produces some of the brightest minds, behind the accolades lies a world where students grapple with stress and the constant challenge of maintaining a work-life balance. This feature explores how students at St. George’s navigate this high-pressure environment while pursuing passions outside the classroom, proving that success and personal fulfillment can coexist.

Grade 10 Students working on Final Project in the Fusion Cohort – Saints BC

At St. George’s, the bar is set high. Meet Alvin, a Grade 11 Student who spends his evenings buried in assignments and tests and weekends in play rehearsals. He’s emblematic of the drive that permeates St. George’s, yet he openly shares the toll it takes on his mental health. “Sometimes, it feels like I am running on a treadmill that never stops,” he says. Alvin’s story is far from unique. In a recent survey conducted by The Echo, over 75% of students rated their stress levels between 3 and 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, with five being extremely stressed. While an atmosphere that emphasizes academic rigour can foster success in students, it also leads to burnout and an overly competitive environment. In a video interview, we spoke with several students about their opinions on the state of the School regarding work-life balance and how they are doing to maintain it.



Despite the high-stress environment, students at St. George’s find ways to pursue their passions outside academics. Henry Elgie, a Grade 11 Student and accomplished photographer, believes that balancing school and personal interests is crucial for mental health. “Photography is my escape,” he says. “It’s essential to have something that helps you decompress and brings you joy.” The importance of having an artistic outlet as a means of expression cannot be understated.

A photo from Henry Elgie’s Photo Gallery – Henry Elgie

Research supports Henry’s perspective. A study from the Journal of Educational Psychology found that students who engage in extracurricular activities for the sake of passion rather than bolstering their resumes are less likely to experience burnout. At St. George’s, students are encouraged to explore various interests, from sports to the arts, fostering a well-rounded development.

Rain Li pursuing his passion of Singing during the Saints Coffee House

St. George’s School recognizes the importance of supporting students in finding balance. The administration and Student Government have implemented several initiatives to address stress and promote well-being. The School’s counselling center offers resources and support for students struggling with anxiety and stress.  The student government has offered Students Mo-Talks, which are mental health check-ins that students can sign up for to connect with one another and share some of the things that are going on with them or that they struggle with. These programs are important to offer, particularly at an all-boys institution, as there is a stigma around boys and men expressing their emotions. These resources help normalize young men speaking out about mental health and stress-related issues and, in turn, validating their experiences and creating healthy coping mechanisms.


In addition to Mo-Talks, St. George’s Student Government has introduced mindfulness and wellness programs through Mental Health Month. These initiatives include yoga classes, meditation sessions, workshops on stress reduction, and sports to decompress. “Mental Health Month is a time for us, as a school community, to recognize the importance of mental well-being. So much of our ability to learn, grow, and thrive depends on our state of mind. Our outlook on life plays a huge role in shaping our success and future.,” says Health and Wellness Prefect Matthew O’Leary.

Grade 10 Student Aeden Warburton Participating in Drop in Softball during Mental Health Month – Saints BC

The stories of students like Henry and Alvin demonstrate St George’s successes, shortcomings, and possible areas for improvement to promote balancing academics with personal passions.

Grade 11 student James Askew studying for upcoming Exams – Benjie Baker

St. George’s School, with its high expectations and demanding environment, presents its students with unique challenges. However, it is encouraging to see new mental health-related resources be introduced and expanded on which aim to reduce the mental load of students. Through supportive programs, a focus on extracurricular activities that allow students to explore their passions, and the resilience of its students, St. George’s proves that excellence and personal fulfillment can go hand in hand. Although the competitive nature of an academically rigorous environment has the potential to affect students’ self-esteem and overall well-being, with the right support for speaking out about these emotions and channeling them towards passion projects, students can thrive both inside and outside the classroom.

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