My heart aches, and a piercing sorrow pains my sense, as though of black tea I had take, or swallowed some cocoa extracts for the brain these hours past, leaving sunken my winged arms. It’s not through happiness of your troubled lot, but being too vexed in your diSTRESS, that you, the grave-hearted junior before a test, in some cacophonous plot, of homework piled and essays numberless, sing’est of ‘life’ like a wicked pest!
It’s about sevenish when you hop off the school bus for the first time in months.
You walk through the concrete doors when the piercing odor of disinfectants intrudes your nostrils, sending surges of nostalgia down your body. What was that journey unfinished? What were those words I never got a chance to say? You whisper a “hello” to familiar faces as you wander past the refurbished halls. Some faces put up a warm smile, while others look to you vacantly, like if you’re just another apparition. Then the crowd buries you, flooding you to a corridor you had no intention of entering. DING-DING-DING-DING the bells screeched, bringing back jars of memories and doubts. Time begins to distort, one ephemeral minute grows into years, as you dash towards home room, lockers upon lockers of voluminous books rush out the horizon, the portrait of your dreams glows with increasing brilliance in the subconscious realm. Now it’s real. It begins. The making of the dream.
But now a quarter had passed, and the disturbing realization that not all is going as planned may throw us a bit off balance. Don’t worry! You aren’t the only one struggling! School work brings TREMENDOUS stress to all of us! Just hear the laments (or celebrations) of your beloved fellows:
First quarter has brought me a wave of stress that I’m not exactly used to. Never have I been more involved or exhausted in all of my life. To be completely honest, I am an overachiever. I am a sophomore in the Communication Arts Program (CAP) at Blair, and I am taking two AP classes. I participate in musical theatre, Girl Scouts, varsity golf team, and student government. I do it all because of my passion, not because I am a huge fan of stress-mania headaches or sleepless nights.
I am not the only one who does not get enough sleep. Kelly Wright, a junior at Northwood High School, says she gets about “six hours of sleep” on average per night, and she spends almost as much time on her homework. “On average I spend five and a half hours a day on homework,” Wright said. While not as heavily involved in extracurricular endeavors, Wright constantly challenges herself in school work.
Kyra Seiger, another sophomore in the Blair Communication Arts Program, participates in many activities. “I do crew every day; I plan on doing Women’s Advocacy Club once crew ends, and Silver Quill. And later in the year I hope to do the musical,” Seiger said.
With all of her activities on top of school work, Seiger finds it difficult to manage her time. She must cut things from her schedule, and sometimes it comes down to homework. “But I can get it done sooner or later,” Seiger explains.
Adjusting to a new year is difficult. You are getting used to your new teachers and a new course load. In some cases, you have to adjust to an entirely new school. Rachel Arbacher, a freshman at Blair in the Communication Arts Program, finds her high school classes to be stressful. “High school is extremely stressful. I came from a school that wasn’t particularly small, but nonetheless had about eight hundred students. Blair has three thousand. The sheer size can be intimidating, and my classes are harder and the workload is larger. On the whole, there is a great deal of stress.”
Seiger finds this year to be stressful as well. “It’s definitely harder than last year, which I expected. There’s a lot more homework and a lot more busywork, I think. There seem to be more quizzes and tests, more fast-paced learning. Every class seems very rushed.”
Though Seiger feels the pressure, she is not willing to sacrifice her spot in the program to reduce her stress. “My parents don’t want me to drop out. Also, I hear tenth grade is the hardest [year in CAP], so I might as well get through it, right?”
A lot of students are concerned about their futures. How will what I do now impact me in the long run? Niki Patel, an eighth grader at Parkland Middle School, is applying to five magnet programs. She says that eighth grade is her hardest year yet. “It is a pretty big adjustment from last year—the workload, the stress—a lot of it has increased because you know that the grades you get in these classes are a big part of your future, and you don’t want to mess that up,” Patel says.
Patel participates in about eight extracurricular activities, each taking up 1-3 hours per week. Though she is caught in the midst of school and her high school applications, she finds her activities to be therapeutic. “These activities take up a lot of my time, but they’re very enjoyable, so I don’t mind. They’re almost like a stress reliever.”
Whoever you are, you feel the stress at some point. Joel Abreu-Cruz, a student at Northwest, believes that stress is inevitable sometimes. “At times [it is stressful] when tests and exams come around and more towards the end of the quarter when you gotta make sure that you’re all caught up.”
(Forward by Jessica Li, SAC Press Secretary, feature article by Christina McCann, SAC Press Correspondent)