That’s a bit of a loaded question, and depending on their experience and situation, it will be different for each student.

It’s like asking “what’s the best thing to come out of Connecticut?” You could get countless answers – like Frisbee, Pez, wiffle ball, hamburgers, or pizza – (that’s right Connecticut invented them all!). FYI the correct answer is wiffle ball.

For students though there is no one correct answer. In a similarly titled article 1 , here are two answers from high school students:

 “I think the biggest problem is peer pressure and trying to fit in. People try to act like other people to fit in, and they can’t be themselves.” Genevieve Prushinski, 15 of Princeton

 “The biggest problem is the barrier between teachers and students and understanding each other. It’s similar to the generation gap, and there’s always a little level of misunderstanding.” Dylan Carson, 18, or Tiskilwa.

While these may seem different, they both involve making connections. And tangible, real connections. The lack of connections is so serious that some have equated this to the “next biggest public health issue on par with obesity and substance abuse.” 2 In fact the same article reveals that studies find that a lack of connections, aka loneliness, increases mortality risk by 26%. Whoa!

You’re probably thinking this just got way heavier than wiffle ball. Which is true, wiffle ball is supposed to be super light. Bada bing.

Anyway, so clearly there’s a problem and Tweeting, Facebooking and Snapchatting are not the solution. So what’s the answer then?

Great question. We need ways for students to be themselves and bond with other students as well as faculty and staff at the school. If you’re looking to overcome barriers, aka obstacles, then what better way than to…overcome obstacles! While this may be literal (and perhaps less than objective recommendation) the takeaway is that there is an issue of connection for high school students so you must find a way of fix it. If Pez could figure out how you can have candy on the go and wiffle ball figured out how to play baseball without breaking your neighbor’s windows, we have faith that you can figure this out too.

1 “What is the biggest problem facing high school students today?” February 21, 2011. www.bcrnews.com

2 Harris, R. “The Loneliness Epidemic: We’re More Connected Than Ever – But Are We Feeling More Alone?” March 30, 2015. www.independent.co.uk