Stress is a common part of life for most high school students. From grades to activities, not to mention jobs and college applications for seniors, we have a lot on our plates to juggle. Often, all we can do is pray it doesn’t come tumbling down.
The only positive thing that our staff could identify about stress was that it has the potential to prepare us for later in life, but is this a good enough reason for what stress does to us? We don’t think so.
The effects of stress are familiar to most Marian girls. As far as physical symptoms go, one can expect lack of sleep, weight fluctuation, headaches and acne. We also found that stress affected our ability to physically relax without feeling guilty for doing so.
Given the COVID-19 situation, having to participate in online classes and not being able to see all of our classmates every day can leave everyone, including the teachers, feeling unhappy with the way the year is going.
It’s easy to find anger in this reality, too. We become frustrated with our teachers for overworking us, and the teachers become frustrated with us for complaining when they are struggling just as much as their students. Administration is working extremely hard to keep us safe and healthy, but at what cost? It seems like Marian is so different from the past, and as we desperately try to hold onto our traditions that are beginning to slip away, it can create an even larger problem, taking away the things that make our school wonderful.
This isn’t meant to diminish the amazing work our school has done to keep each and every student safe. The precautions we take on a daily basis, although tedious, help to keep us safe. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find fun in the school day given all these precautions, and our events we had to look forward to are gone, thus increasing the school workload and stress.
While stress may prepare us for later in life, we’ve agreed that it’s equally important to live for the present, meet up with your friends at Starbucks, and hang out at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch (all with precautions and masks). Students live under the weight of a never ending to-do list, and feeling guilty about taking a break isn’t going to solve the problem. Homework will always be there, but there are some experiences that you can’t get back. That’s why our staff recommends finding balance.
We would suggest for you to keep a positive mind and your eyes on the bigger picture. Life may be about achievement to a certain degree, but it’s also about finding happiness. You can’t do that if you’re miserable ninety percent of the time you’re supposed to be working on something that will make you happy. Furthermore, making time for yourself can help ward off that feeling of being burnt out and allow you to stay refreshed and energetic about the things that give your life that purpose— things that make you smile and laugh and stay up all night writing down ideas and wake up ecstatic about the possibilities the day could bring.
That idea can be difficult, and we don’t want to encourage faking your happiness for the sake of others or yourself. It is important to understand and cope with our feelings, take time to process our stress and anger and find the root of those feelings. Pushing our stress to the side is not going to make it go away, taking breaks to relax is key, but avoiding those feelings all together can prove to be really unhealthy.
While it may be unrealistic to expect life to be all sunshine and rainbows, it is important to keep yourself grounded in the here and now. Even seniors who are stressed about starting to make real life decisions need to take a step back every once in a while and realize that this is still one of the best times of our lives, so plan for the future and get your homework done, but live for the present and for yourself.