The Memories Are Worth the Stress

So last week was a very inserting and stressful week for me. It started last Tuesday when the new captains for my color guard team were announced.

Just to give you a little background I have tried out for captain three times including this year. The process for trying out for captain on my team is a long and involved process. Our team usually has two captain, three section leaders (flag, rifle, sabre), and a vice president. Last year I was given the sabre section leader position. At the end of this year one of our captains graduated and out of the rest of the leaders only the second captain and I would be returning for the next season.

Back to the announcement, I was announced as the captain. I was thrilled when this was announced and after all of the other positions were announced I realized something. There was only one captain announced and it was me. This meant that last year’s returning captain was now sabre section leader. This was something that had not happened before.

The next few days were very stressful for me. It consisted of a lot of figuring out how to do things and asking questions. After a lot of stress things are finally starting to fall into place.

Over the last week I have learned so much. I learned about communication and leadership. The next year as captain is going to be a stressful one, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love color guard and my team and I am going to make so many new memories as captain.

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Stress, Stress, and More Stress…

I’m so stressed out!!! I have so many things to study for its unreal. On top of that, I have to do extra credit assignment and projects and study and study…did I mention study. You want to know what I don’t understand? Why do teachers assign projects right before finals? Do they not understand that there is a capacity of stress a brain can handle. Any ways, I just want to reflect on the stress on finals. Although finals make people (especially me) pull out their hair one at a time, it teaches you to be organized and how to manage your time. Studying for my final, I have to plan which test I have to study for first, which assignment is a priority, and how much relax time I can afford. If I am being honest, I hate finals. They are unreasonable and a painful way to end the year. I wouldn’t mind finals so much if they didn’t affect your grades so much. It sucks when you spend months trying to build up your grades and it only takes one test to make it tumble down. My Japanese final dropped my grade by six percent! And because it is a final, you cant bring your grade up. It is a live or die situation. All that I’m hoping for right now is that I don’t drown.

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So Close, Yet So Far

After going through three weeks of May, the hardest part is finally over: AP tests. For me, I felt like I did the best that I could and I don’t think I would go back and change anything (maybe after I check my scores in July). Back in middle school at this time, we were doing absolutely nothing and I really missed that. Not because I’m THAT lazy to do a bit more work but I just think we’ve done ENOUGH work for the year (hello AP US History), do some FUN activities and wrap up the year.

Have you ever ran a mile and felt like it was never going to end? This is me. I’m at this point where I’m burnt out and all my creativity is slowing oozing out its last juices. There are exactly 13 slow, painful days of school. I’m not saying it like I won’t miss my friends and peers and teachers, but let’s just say I can do without them for a while. So many things went on for April and May, both physically, intellectually, and emotionally, that I didn’t have much time to preserve some precious time for myself. Too many things to see, to watch, and to hear. Yet not enough time. When was the last time I laid down and read a book I really enjoyed? When was the last time I could slept at 10 pm and woke up at 8AM? When was the last time I could last without a nap after school? When was the last time that school didn’t keep me up until 1AM? Although these were certainly tougher times of school, I must admit that I have it a LOT easier than most of my peers who are way more involved than I am. But we all put a lot of efforts into our work, so regardless everyone should receive the same credits.

The reason why I’m really excited for school to be over is because I’m looking forward to the future: summer and Senior year! I realized how much I can’t remember about the summer lifestyle. The laidback schedule, the spontaneous adventures, but also the occasional boring days where Netflix is your friend. But I think that’s part of any life cycle-that fun nights will fill you up but the dull days will have you appreciate the times when you are enjoying yourselves.

Prom: That One Night (That I had no stress)

Prom: That One Night (That I had no stress)

Uncomfortable Success

Every year around May, high school students are going CRAZY. We are not sane people at this emotional roller coaster segment of the semester. Since high school started, I don’t remember a year where it wasn’t busy, stressful, UNCOMFORTABLE, uneasy, and an emotional wreck around this month. But I do remember that, no matter how hard or nervous I feel, I should learn to accept the results because I tried my best, regardless if it turned out as a failure, a semi-success, or a definite success (But knowing summer is RIGHT around the corner doesn’t hurt either!!!). Also, one failure..or two..will not define your future either!

What goes down around May is usually this:

  1. AP classes are winding down (or speeding up!) to their last chapters. Students are still in their Spring Break slumber so coming right back from break is not an easy task. Most of us should’ve started studying for the AP exam during Spring break…but who actually succeeded in doing that honestly? I had an APUSH test the following Monday I returned from break, so already my rollercoaster is going straight down with full force. Like I said before, after classes are finished with their curriculum, it’s time to review this sh!t..which really only leave two weeks of studying before the actual day of the test. Considering it’s history and there’s a LOT that goes on AND most of us didn’t review over break…no one is relaxing at ALL. Also, the way we’re reviewing our material is by splitting up into nine groups (this isn’t a “project” really, but if there’s presenting of any sort, it’s a group project to me).
  2. Magically around this time, good ole GROUP projects start popping up! The timing is almost too perfect right now. I have a “Job Fair” group project for Spanish. A two-ish minute presentation on Tuesday comin’ up.
  3. Normal tests from normal classes. Thankfully since I am in a normal Precalculus class, I am chillin’ with a 99.4% and I cANNOT express how great it is to not stress over math. Amen to my amazing teacher. However, I do have chem to care for and you can’t tell me chemistry is easy. Right now, I am struggling with a 86.2% and I am praying to the gods that maybe..just maybe the FINAL will be a piece of cake so that I will magically pass with an A in the class, not that I would cry if I get a B in the class though.
  4. Art- This class is literally “arts and crafts” at this point..but TIME CONSUMING arts and crafts. So now I ALSO have to spend a small portion trying to catch up. We’re doing Piet Mondrian inspired collage.

If I look at this list, it isn’t THAT crazy, but this isn’t over a long span of time, it’s ALL in the span of 2-3 weeks. I am already a nervous person as it is because I sort of fear failure. To be honest, I hate the nature of the AP tests, which is why I get nervous and uncomfortable before I take it. First of all, why does it cost so much? Personally, because I know I’m paying this amount of money for a single test, I feel pressured to do well. I’m not rich (although I will be later on) so it’s sort of a burden on me. Secondly, why is the test SO long???? Sitting to do a test that long is basically trying to kill someone, me specifically. The test is on average about three hours. Lastly, it should just be a “passed or failed” thing. Like really, does it matter if someone gets a 1 or 2? They still failed regardless. Plus, it only makes that person feel worse.

Collegeboard needs to chill out..so that I could chill out too.

Logical way of curing your stress.  Photo @2007 by K. Latham (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Logical way of curing your stress.
Photo @2007 by K. Latham (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Let It Go

Sometimes you just have to stay out of everyone’s business–even your own.

Being in high school, this can be pretty hard. Everybody’s having new relationships, new problems, new stuff that you just love to know and talk about. Every now and then, you really have to talk a break from all of it. It can be really exhausting and even annoying at a point, which is a good indicator of when to step back and tell yourself to let it all go.

Whether you do that by turning off your phone, computer, TV, whatever I think it’s actually really smart to disconnect once in a while.

Not only do I think distancing yourself from superficial problems of other people, but also distancing yourself from your own worries is equally as important.

Whether you’re stressed about your mean aunt coming to town, your upcoming math test, or the dude in your bio class, disconnecting from all of that can help you destress and maybe realize, if only for a little while, what’s important.

Worrying about inevitable things like deadlines or confrontations doesn’t actually help anyone, especially not you. You can use these worries to your advantage, as motivation to better prepare yourself. Worried about a test? Then tell yourself then you should go study. Easy peasy, right?

Procrastination AKA rewriting assignments throughout the week because I still haven't done them.

Procrastination AKA rewriting assignments throughout the week because I still haven’t done them.

Well, maybe not. I don’t think anyone’s a stranger to procrastination. You don’t actually want to study, so you put it off, worrying yourself even more in the process. If you ever really want to get everything off your chest, then you’re going to have to spend a little while disciplining yourself to get stuff done.

The Beginning of the Rest of Your Life

Last week at my school we began the process of registering for classes for next year. This process is pretty much the same every year. The only difference this year is that it’s my last time registering for high school classes and this process made me realize how close I am to becoming a senior. And that’s terrifying.

The process started last week by once again having the career center explain to us what we had to do to graduate and what we needed to get into college. It’s not like this was the first time I realized I would be a senior next year. I mean the college mail for months, signing up for the ACT/SAT, and now registering for classes all made it seem real.

Today we had to listen to the lecture about picking our actual classes for next year, and the whole lecture started with a saying I have heard quite a few times lately, “These decisions are the beginning of the rest of your life”(or anything along those lines). This saying only makes everything about signing up for senior classes more terrifying.

I also spent some time thinking about this and realized that in picking my classes they weren’t necessarily things that will help me with what I want to do for the rest of my life. I for one already know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be an elementary special education teacher. And while looking at the classes I plan to take, I realized that none of these classes would really help me with that.

Next year I plan to take AP English 4, AP French 4, AP Statistics, Government/Economics, and Color guard. While these are all classes that I need for college that is really the only reason I am taking them. So now when I think about this saying I think more about how much pressure is put on all of us to take these difficult classes in high school even if they don’t help with what we want to do in the future.

So if you are stressed and terrified for your senior year of high school just remember to breathe, and that no matter what you decide it will all work out.

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Photo @2014 by Matthias Baudinet (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Stressed, depressed, but educated

I recently read an article on just how stressed and depressed students are today. The author even discussed her experiences at college where she had mental issues. Although, the article mainly focused on the colleges’ inadequacies at helping students, what interested me more was the root cause of the problem.

Teenagers, and students in general, are some of the most stressed out people there are. Not only do the endless deadlines and countless assignments, but also the expectations can stress and depress anyone.

Something I've whispered to myself countless times. Another popular one is APUSH me off a cliff.

Something I’ve whispered to myself countless times. Another popular one is “APUSH me off a cliff.”

Some teachers do try to combat this, whether by telling students before tests, “just do your best!” or assuring them that a single quiz grade isn’t going to ruin their life. The thing they don’t realize is that teenagers are extremely near-sighted.

The thought process of a teenager after getting a bad quiz grade is as follows:

-got a bad grade

-will bring down my whole grade

-bring down my GPA

-won’t get into a good college

-can’t get a good job

-will end up living under a bridge

That, at least for me, is exactly what runs through my mind. So it’s not surprising that students get so stressed and many end up severe depression. Suicide attempts during, in college and high school, are definitely not uncommon. In fact, I think every student has thought about it at one point or another.

Some adults really try to help, but counseling and trying to find ways to deal with our stress isn’t going to make our 3 projects, 2 tests, and an APUSH outline go away.

What really needs to happen is a complete remodel of the education system, but I am not completely delusional and know that this is almost completely out of the story.

So what can we do in the mean time? Providing support for students really is helpful, and if any teachers are reading this, try to ease up, for your student’s health, and for your own conscience.