Stop stressing: you may be causing your own pressure

Stop stressing: you may be causing your own pressure

Rachel Brauer, staff writer

Students need to stop blaming others for their stress, because in reality, students tend to create their own stress albeit unintentionally .

“Everything is optional,” Kyle Fitzgerald, junior in three sports and six honors/AP classes, said. “You choose the classes. You choose to challenge yourself, and if you feel like that’s too much of a load, you don’t always have to take that class.”

Stress is a constant struggle. It is easy to blame stress on teachers or the school, but students are in the most control of how much stress they take on with their activities.

“No one chooses to give or receive stress,” Julie Anderson, social worker, said. “[School stress] is no one’s fault.”

Students are not at fault, but they choose if they want to participate in clubs and activities. However, the pressure that comes with this can be overwhelming. Fitzgerald did the math to find he spends about 50 out of 120 hours a week either at school or playing sports. The standard American works 40 hours per week, according to Lydia Saad

It is harder nowadays to get into college with new expectations to score better on test, have better grades, and to be in more activities, according to Ann Appert, parent in the Trustee, Lafayette school board from the documentary Race to Nowhere. This isn’t middle school anymore, so colleges are going to have higher expectations. Students should expect to get stressed sometimes, and if they are not, then they are doing something wrong.

Most students will experience stress throughout high school. In most cases, no one tells a student they have participate in a club or activity. Any extra stress added onto their schedule is their doing and being more involved like this can affect the student positively.

“I think activities help with school work, because although they take time away, you’re also forced to be more productive,” Fitzgerald said. “Usually when you’re in a sport, you don’t want to become ineligible so that’s a constant reminder to keep your grades up.”

Being engrossed and active in school is important, but sometimes being overly active for long periods of time consistently is not healthy for the body and the stress that comes with this can end up causing mental health issues.

“I think [stress] can definitely cause mental health issues that can lead to mental health problems,” Anderson said. “If you don’t deal with is going on, it’s going to keep building and building. If you have a lot of stress and it continuously affects your body, [stress] can be really harmful on a person and their mental health.”

There is good stress that gives needed energy to the body, Anderson said. But stress is not healthy, and students sometimes do not know when the stress becomes too much.

“I wasn’t eating or taking care of myself. You care so much about making people proud of you and living up to these expectations, these standards, that you start neglecting yourself, your health,” said Nicole, senior at Oakland Technical School in the documentary.

If a student is not enjoying an activity he or she is choosing to do, they should rethink the decision to continue, especially if it is causing health problems.

“I often wondered ‘why am I doing this?’. I’m doing this so I can go to college and get a job I  like. Ultimately, so I can be happy, but if I can’t be healthy, then none of that really matters,” said Lindsay, senior at Tamalpais high school from the documentary.

With everything else going on in life, students should not be consumed by stress to the point of being unhealthy. Luckily, most stress is not permanent and can be easier to handle with coping strategies.

“Use coping strategies, whatever they are. Maybe identify the stress and then make a plan to alleviate the stress,” Anderson said. “Let’s say someone gets stressed over a term paper. Make a plan to find out when it’s due and not procrastinate. There’s lots of different ways to cope. Whatever works for you.”

All students should learn how to avoid constant stress. It is unhealthy to the body. Students should find a way to manage their stress better with coping strategies that work for them so the stress does not get out of hand.