Stressed out

The Stresses that come along with being a high school student can affect more than just your grades.

By Mikayla Smyth-Wells

What do you think of when you think about stress? Something that happens at home? At school? A relationship? Stress is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.” For highschool students, it’s more likely to be school that’s causing stress.

For sophomore Chloe Laney, this is true. Laney said that her stress level, on a scale of 1 to 10, was all the way up to a 10.

“[I’m] trying to manage time with homework and volleyball practices/games, and [it’s] really hard with higher level classes,” Laney explained.

onlinestudent-stressMemphis Ramerman
Laney says that she procrastinates, which raises her stress levels, even though it has only been almost 2 months since school started. She wants to try and stop procrastinating, but to her, “everyone says that, but it’s not necessarily true that they’re going to do it.”

Freshman Henry Wilkerson said his stress level is only at a four. “Classes are not very challenging yet, but certain classes are starting to pick up the pace and are starting to get more difficult,” Wilkerson said.

He does not procrastinate like Laney does, but studying for tests is still a little difficult for him.

Laney and Wilkerson had different opinions on what they thought causes stress at school. “I think grades and the expectations of teachers is what causes stress for a student.” Wilkerson said.

Laney, however, says stress over school “varies between classes” that students are taking.  “A class can be hard for one person but very easy for another… Different types of clubs and extracurricular activities can cause more stress for certain people,” she said

In a study conducted by psychologist Mary Alvord, who specializes in teenagers, it was found that most teens have “healthy coping strategies, like exercise, meditation, listening to or playing music, planning busy days or weeks in advance or talking about the issue with family or friends.”

Laney says that she listens to music to relieve stress and help her focus. Wilkerson makes a schedule and organizes his priorities with assignments and other outside of school events when stressed; both are good examples of healthy coping methods, according to Alvord’s study.

A class can be hard for one person but very easy for another… Different types of clubs and extracurricular activities can cause more stress for certain people”

— Chloe Laney

These types of ways to relieve stress can help avoid certain effects on the body and mind that stress can cause on teens. “In the short term it can cause anxiety. Over long periods of time, elevated levels of stress hormones can degrade the immune system, cause heart problems, exacerbate respiratory and gastrointestinal issues and bring on chronic anxiety and depression.” Alvord wrote.

People get stressed over different things, whether it be school or affairs at home. But for most students, school will induce some degree of stress.

A national study done by USA Today said that more than a quarter of students say they experience “extreme stress” during the school year, versus 13 percent in the summer. For those who have their stress levels at the 7-10 range here, ethical questions begin to rise. Is it okay for you to risk your physical and mental health so you can get into a good college and job?

Success doesn’t come easy, which is why we go to school. The thing is, as time has gone by, it has gotten harder and more expensive to get into colleges and universities that will get you hired for your dream job.

So does that mean that students should stop taking these classes? No. It means that there needs to be changes. Students need to be able to deal with the stress of their classes in a healthy manner, whether that be listening to music while doing work, exercising, or anything in between.

Students should learn what classes are going to be too stressful for them, even if that means not taking advanced classes.

Students, like Wilkerson, feel the need to push themselves more to get good grades and get a beneficial education so they can live a happy life.

Should classes be changed, or should students learn how to deal with the growing stress that will be with them throughout their life as they go from school to the real world?

In order to deal with future responsibilities like work and taxes, it’s important for students to take the time to learn how to deal with stress. They will find their classes easier and their health improved.