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Stress Less

Between juggling school, extracurriculars, sports and a job on top of the looming subject of college and life goals, it is no question why students nowadays have so much stress. Learning to manage your stress, however, is what will allow you to succeed in conquering high school and take your life to the next step. As […]


Between juggling school, extracurriculars, sports and a job on top of the looming subject of college and life goals, it is no question why students nowadays have so much stress. Learning to manage your stress, however, is what will allow you to succeed in conquering high school and take your life to the next step.

As a senior, I now understand how daunting the task of applying to college and waiting for acceptance letters is for students. But as Christian Brothers wellness counselor Ms. Emily McDougall said, “good students get into college and we see that everyday.”

More importantly, I have personally struggled with the task of spreading myself to thin in order to get that perfect grade or feeling I need to do an extra activity in order to please a Family Connection resume category. Understanding that this is a common theme for many students, I set out to discover how Navneet Khaira (‘18) deals with the overwhelming struggle of stress as well as what Ms. McDougall, suggests students do to maintain a healthy mindset.

This pie chart that shows the percentages of activities high school students have to focus on throughout the day.

Navneet has been an active member of the CB community since she was a freshman. She has been a part of student council all four years as well as being a teammate to the girls on the CB lacrosse team. She is also a proud member of CB’s Scholar Program. This program is very challenging for students who start their freshman year and continue through high school while maintaining the required GPA and courses.

To allow herself to succeed in school, especially during the stress of the lacrosse season, school, and moot court in the second semester, she says you have to manage your workload.

“I prioritize what’s due tomorrow, what’s due Friday, and what’s due in a few weeks instead of doing things that are less important over the assignments that are actually really important.”

This idea of prioritizing assignments and also being realistic with yourself about the expectations you should set is common advice from counselors. 

“Have as realistic expectations as possible because it really isn’t fair to expect that you can stay up until 2, 3, 4 o’clock or some ridiculous hour to get all this work done and still be your best self,” Ms. McDougall shared. “Those two things don’t go together.”

According to Ms. McDougall, one way to avoid these late night stresses is to set limits for yourself.

“[Say] I’m going to work on this assignment for this amount a time and then this one for this amount. And I’m going to go to bed at this time, some reasonable hour. And [telling yourself, I’m] okay with that amount of time and being okay with getting a B instead of excellence [an A].”

As a college prep school, Christian Brothers prides itself on stellar academics, and this would not be possible without our amazing teachers. Our teachers not only understand how to properly teach the material, but also how to connect with the students since they were, in fact, once students themselves. Navneet and Ms. McDougall agree that talking to your teachers is important and that they may even allow you to extend a deadline if you talk to them ahead of time.

“Let’s say that a student has 5 assignments due on one day. You know some teachers are willing to make an adjustment for when that paper is due for the student, so that the student is not completely overwhelmed. Or if a student has a lot of homework but they also have a sports practice or band or whatever they are doing in addition to  all that work,” Ms. McDougall shared. “Teachers are often willing to make some adjustments on one or two dates.” 

Although many teachers are happy to help, don’t take advantage of their generosity. If they give you an extra day, remember that this is a gift that you shouldn’t expect for every assignment.

The most important part for students to remember when dealing with stress is that they are NEVER ALONE. I learned this firsthand during my sophomore year and again this past fall. Both times I was spreading myself too thin and trying to use my school work as a way to avoid dealing with and talking about personal struggles. This lead to me increase my stress and experience mental breakdowns. Both times these breakdowns reached their all time highs, I realized I had to start opening up.

After discussing my problems with close friends, I discovered that I did not have to try to figure life out on my own. Each time my friends walked me through solutions either by tutoring me or just working with me to create a game plan and overcome my struggles. Navneet and Ms. McDougall agreed that asking for help is one of the hardest things for students to do but also the most rewarding.

 “Junior year was so hard, I think it was because I was taking four AP classes. This year I am able to ask people for help or assistance,” Navneet says. “Last year I wasn’t able to so I felt really alone in that.”

Keeping yourself mentally healthy is as important as keeping yourself physically fit. Without the right mindset you cannot go and conquer the day successfully.

“Don’t wear yourself out before you go to college,” advised Ms. McDougall.

Since stress is something that a lot of people do not know how to manage, I discovered some unique activities for students to experiment with to release stress. These ideas came from Nav, Ms. McDougall, a mental health website Ditch the Label, and personal experience.

Emily Davis (’18) and Nicole Melikian (’18) demonstrating partner yoga poses on the main lawn.

  • Soul cycling
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Watching a movie
  • Doodling
  • Writing in a journal
  • Going stargazing
  • Hugging a pug
  • Playing a sport
  • Yelling out your frustration
  • Gardening
  • Going for a day trip
  • Ceramics
  • Baking or cooking for your friends
  • Dancing/listening to music
  • Learning to play a new instrument

As they say, “You Only Live Once” so don’t let experiences pass you by because you are to stressed by school. Make sure to find a balance and prioritize for the success you desire.

 

 

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