The reality of burning out before college
By Laura Koch
Stress is a condition of life for people of all ages. If you’re a teenager, however, the experience of attending high school and preparing for college may expose you to a level of stress that’s higher than any you’ve experienced before. That’s part of growing up and taking on new challenges, which is a necessary and beneficial process. In the moment though, feeling the burden of that stress can be quite difficult to handle.
As a high school student, you undeniably have a lot going on. All of us reach that point when the level of daily stress becomes unmanageable. Harvard University published an article about stress and its effects on the human body. The study shows that, over time, chronic stress can lead to mental health problems, like depression or physical sickness. Stress has many faces and creeps into our lives from many directions. No matter what causes it, stress puts the body and the mind on edge. Any situation you perceive as threatening or which requires you to adjust to a change can set it off.
But what actually generates stress? Everyone is different and has different needs, plans and dreams. Most high school students struggle with school and their personal life at the same time. They are under too much pressure, which they blame on school and the teachers. However, this situation also has two sides. The teachers also stress, a lot. A student-teacher relationship can become overwhelming and stressful for both parties. Teaching is a huge responsibility. Teachers do not simply convey knowledge and skills, but also have an enormous impact on their students’ lives in many aspects. As for students, the stress is somewhat different. All the people who were asked admitted to blame their stress on outside factors, although they know that the source of their stress is the way they manage things in their lives, not necessarily the challenges they face.
Apparently, our greatest enemy is ourselves. But even if we experience those moments of self-loathing, unrelenting frustration that stems are from our own hands, we still don’t know how to handle it. Students seem to hit walls every now and then. Question the road that they’re on. Everybody knows the feeling when they don’t live up to their parents’, or their own expectations. There are several underlying factors that can trigger stress, such as: taking too much for granted, doubt, overthinking or just being too judgemental toward ourselves. These all can become a dizzying spiral that we sink into. All of these point to the same direction: insecurity.
“Count your blessings.”
We have to become our own healers because no outside help can be of any benefit if we are not up to the task of getting things in order in our lives. So how can it be changed? First of all, everyone has to face the fact that we are our own enemy. Exercising patience is also fundamental in this process. Since we’re working on changing habits, we have to allow time for it. Relaxation can go a long way; this is why we should dedicate some time to ourselves every single day. Another piece of advice, as an old saying goes, “Count your blessings.” Be grateful for what you have and plan ahead accordingly. Accept that you are human, and humans make mistakes. There is no use to brood on past failures; we should learn from them. Try taking this advice into consideration next time you are suffering from stress. Upon a closer look, nothing is as bad as it may seem.
If you look back, was all the stress for every little nuisance worth it? It’s up to you to decide, but if you had 36 hours a day to sort things out thoroughly, would you really be better off? You’d always find something to be discontented with. To quote T. S. Eliot: “The journey, not the destination matters.”