This is an editorial I wrote for the most recent edition of my school’s newspaper
At the end of the day, thousands of students walk out the doors of the school, pushing and shoving their way through the crowds to escape. They have friends to meet, jobs to get to, homework to finish, extracurriculars in which to participate. The life of a high school student is a busy one.
It feels as if there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. The responsibilities and their consequences bleed into the night: there are projects done by moonlight, sleep deprivation, and coffee becoming a life source. This is something every overachieving student is familiar with. We do what we have to do to get the work done because the grades are what matter. The sacrifices we make are necessary.
Sometimes, unsurprisingly, it all becomes too much. The stress is overwhelming; it feels almost tangible. Whether it’s studying information that isn’t quite understandable or carrying the burden of ambitionless group members through a project, panic begins boiling up inside. You’ve made a mistake: you care too much. You should have decided to just wing it, taken regular classes, or never let school become this important. The standards you’ve set for yourself, or that your parents have set for you, are way too high. You’ll never be able to reach those expectations, and the veracity of that scares you and boils your brain with the stress of it.
But, stress is something solvable…right? We all learned in Jag Time how to deal with it. We were shown a cute, patronizing, little video that taught us just what to do at a time like this. It told us to vacuum our homes or eat a piece of chocolate. It said to take a warm bath or to exercise. And those things are all fine, and they probably work to help calm you down, but by the time you’ve finished doing what they’ve suggested you have the same amount of homework and less time to do it. Super helpful.
We stress, but the work gets done in the end. That’s why those who stress are those who finish the group project, have fantastic presentations, and manage to get their homework done on time.
And the best part about it all? Nothing will change. School still starts at 8:15 and ends at 3:30. Extracurriculars still take whatever time they want out of your week. Managers still make it difficult to set your own shifts. And homework is still homework; every teacher treats it as if their class is the only one you’re taking, so of course you have plenty of time to do the three hours of work a night they assign. This isn’t an advice column; I’m not going to tell you how to solve student stress. But acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step to finding the solution.