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Three teens document how they’re overwhelmed by high expectations and pressure to succeed

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Published 3 years ago

In Fourth Period Burnout, three teens document how they experience high expectations and pressure to succeed. Their artistic recreations show what it’s like to be overwhelmed, overworked and heading towards burnout. #CBCShortDocs

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High school students today have to balance heavy workloads at school with increasing pressure to succeed. Fourth Period Burnout pools the creative energies of three youth — Juliette (16), Daniel (18) and Theresa (15) — and their mentor, Madison Thomas, to create a short documentary about their day-to-day experiences with stress and burnout.

Juliette, 16, dances five days a week while working towards becoming an actor and pushing herself to do well in school.

Daniel, 18, is a high school senior with a goal of going into film studies. He's a bit nervous about university.

Theresa, 15, is a first-generation Canadian whose parents immigrated from the Philippines. She feels the pressure to do well in school, but also loves the arts and just hanging out with her friends.

The idea for the documentary took shape when director Madison Thomas started teaching in an after-school program for creative teens in Winnipeg.

“When one student shared her weekly school, homework, extra-curricular and part-time work schedule with me, I was floored by how much was being expected of this 16 year-old,” says Thomas.

Fourth Period Burnout features the collaborative voice of the students alongside artistic recreations of the situations that hint at the emotional and psychological states of youth heading towards a burnout from being overworked at school. Through their work, the voices of the teen creators encourage other youth to practise self-care and not put so much pressure on themselves.

With behind-the-scenes footage documenting the writing process and the narrative components that the students bring to life, the documentary explores how high school students are overworked and some of the ways they can manage their stress.

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