Stress: defined by me

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Story by Amanda Hackleman, Staff Writer

It’s everywhere. In everyday life. It’s in our homes, our jobs, and most definitely in our schools. It causes fights. Destroys relationships. And eats away at a person until they can hardly stand it anymore. It’s stress.

Students deal with many different types of stress. Everything from who to sit with at lunch to late night study sessions. Some things that you might not think would, actually weigh heavily on most teenagers. I speak from experience when I say that stress is a nightmare.

Social stress is one of the most prevalent parts of an average teenager’s life.

What do others think of me?

Should I do this?

What if I say the wrong thing to them?

What if I end up embarrassing myself in front of the whole school?

These are all questions that go through a teenager’s mind at least once a day. To some, these might not be important, but to others, it’s the difference between being completely normal one second to a crumpled heap of stress and nerves the next.

Going to a small middle school, and I mean VERY small, I quickly learned what others thought about me wasn’t always good. I was concerned with it on a daily basis. I was constantly looking over my shoulder, trying to listen in on conversations about me, and even doing things I wouldn’t normally do just to impress people. It soon became enough to turn me into an crabby, irritable nutcase.

Other types of stress come from homework. Many students pile on AP and Pre-AP classes and are then buried with the homework. Some students will literally spend hours to complete assignments for one class and still have many hours worth of work left. This tires teenagers out and also causes them to stress over the homework overload.

Staying up late to finish homework is completely normal to me now. Being asleep by midnight is a rare occurrence that I treasure. Lack of sleep once again turns me into crabby, irritable nutcase.

Finally, there is also stress caused by extracurricular activities and other activities teenagers do outside of school. These things students do for “fun” actually stress them out even more. If they’re in sports, they have to work and stay in shape. If they’re in theater, they have to memorize lines and blocking. If they’re in any clubs, they must meet the deadlines for activities in that club. The list goes on and on.

Being in theater, I know what it’s like to be a school at nine o’clock at night practicing for a play. It’s honestly exhausting, even though I love it. And since I’m out late, I get home later, so I do homework later, and inevitably don’t sleep as much. Once again, I turn into a crabby, irritable nutcase.

All of this just piles onto a teen and causes a stress overload.

Can I finish this assignment today?

Should I wait to do this later?

Is this even due tomorrow?

It just builds and builds until some people just can’t handle it anymore. After all the late night studying and the long days working for a sport or a club, some teenagers just break.

So how do teens handle the stress that comes with their everyday lives? Many experts offer a wide range of solutions ranging from sleeping more to just relaxing for a while everyday. Although these might help to some extent, the stress will still remain. There will always be homework. There will always be extracurriculars. And there will always be social stress.

For me personally, it seems no matter what I do I’m always stressed about something. I can’t sleep more, or I won’t get my work done. I could stop theatre, but it’s an important part of my life, so that’s never going to happen. I’ll admit I could possibly work on how to manage this stress. But I always seem to find myself having the same reaction. Becoming a crabby, irritable nutcase.

It’s everywhere. No matter the school, the classes, or the friends teens have, they will inevitably deal with stress. Sometimes this stress can be good, as it makes students work harder, but at other times, it’s just an added pressure that teenagers don’t need. It’s just part of the life of millions of high school students across the nation.

Everyone deals with stress differently. Some people just let it overwhelm them, and they give up. Others deal with it better and become successful in school and outside of it. The point is that stress affects everyone. Teens in this day and age just have to put on a brave face and meet this obstacle head on. Only the ones that keep on fighting will come out victorious over that terrible enemy called stress.