JUST+BREATHE

JUST BREATHE

Students deal with stress and pressure as school starts.

October 8, 2020

After a long wait of over six months, schools have officially gone back in session. With school comes the pressure and anxiety to perform well, but students are no stranger to this kind of stress. With the amount of homework, tests and extracurricular activities, it can be hard for one to slow down and find some time for one’s self. 

It may seem like life is moving faster than one can keep up with and that there are just too many things to worry about. However, students have different outlooks on how to destress and calm down when the pressure of school really starts to set in. 

“The workload at Suncoast is expectable but still doesn’t make any sense to me because the students burn out so quickly to the point of which they are not even learning the info, they are just trying to figure out how to pass,”  sophomore Tanesha Pierre said. “I honestly don’t actually cope when I am overwhelmed, I just keep adding more stuff onto my plate and complain about being overwhelmed. The only way I get through it is just to think about my grades and how they will be affected if I don’t get work done.”

According to the American Psychological Association, “Teens reported [through an online survey conducted on teens all across america ages 13-17] that their stress levels during the school year far exceeded what they believe to be healthy (5.8 vs. 3.9 on a 10-point scale) and topped adults’ average reported stress levels (5.8 for teens vs. 5.1 for adults). Even during the summer — from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31, 2013, when interviewing took place — teens reported their stress during the prior month at levels higher than what they believe is healthy (4.6 vs. 3.9 on a 10-point scale.” Not only that, but very few teens actually find ways to relieve and destress. 

“If I ever become overwhelmed and start freaking out I just tell myself to sit down and get it down,” sophomore Kamuli Bahemuka said. “I just tell myself that it will all work out in the end and reaffirm that I am okay.” 

Other students have their stress reducing methods centered around doing well and being efficient when it comes to academic work. 

“I think organizing your time and having a calendar in your mind or even writing out regarding due dates and assignments can help destress,” sophomore Laila Jean said. “When I have everything laid out so I can actually see what I need to do, I feel much calmer because I can just go through everything one by one and get it done.”

Stress can be influenced by many factors such as sleep, exercise and even eating habits. School grades and pressure can even be one of the biggest factors when it comes to stress in high-schoolers. A study carried out by The Society for Research in Child Development finds that “when students experience an academic setback such as a bad grade, the amount of cortisol—the so-called stress hormone—in their bodies typically spikes. For most students it drops back down to normal levels a day later, but for some it stays high.” This can also be true for students who often have to deal with performing lower than what they had expected.

“When I see I got a bad grade on a test or assignment the first thing that happens is I feel bad about myself and disappointed that I did not try hard enough,” sophomore Chris Castillo said. “But when I dwell on it I start to get more and more worried about the future of my grades in that class and it makes me feel extra pressure to study harder.” 

While some students find peace in themselves and from self-affirmations, others look for comfort from outside sources. These include sports, hobbies, video games or just hanging out with friends.

“I destress the most often by hanging out with my friends,” Pierre said. “Being with my friends makes me feel like I am in a safe space and I can really just escape everything going on in my life and just live in the moment. Stress never really goes away when there are things to worry about you just have to learn to accept it and do things that make you happy when you need a break from it.”

The most common advice from students was to just breathe and slow down in order to calm one’s self.

“Whenever I freakout way too much about school the one thing that never fails me is to just take a break and do something relaxing because I know in the end everything works out,” Bahemuka said. “It’s usually just all in your head.”

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