Stressed Out: Class of 2021 Edition


Keana-Leoni Balalio

Stress doesn’t go away, you just learn to live with it.

Keana-Leoni Balalio, Cub Reporter

Sophomore year is when the ball starts rolling for your high school career. You’ve finally found the niche that you fit in within A-TECH, and you probably aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Life is beginning to make a little more sense, and everything seems to get a little bit easier.

That’s when the stress hits, because as a freshman you weren’t thinking and decided to sign up for a bunch of advanced, barely passable classes and make promises to more than a handful of clubs, some of which you are just now realizing is a thing. Stress levels are, then, consistently at an 11, but you push through it because it goes downhill from there either way. I asked several sophomores about what stresses them out, answers of which varied from school to home life to relationships.

“A lot of things stress me out. Tests, talking to people, ordering food, especially without rehearsing, confrontations. Communicating, in general, stresses me out because I have social anxiety,” said Shahira Aya Simon.

Life is stressful in its own way, and mundane tasks can get to anyone. Topping any situation with anxiety, though, makes the stress a good ten times worse. Imagine walking around with that on your shoulders and not constantly crying because it’s crazy. Although, a majority of A-TECH students are probably in that state already, there’s so much more to deal with as well.

Steven Waker said, “I’m stressed by relaxed teachers that aren’t on you about, like, deadlines and stuff, then you don’t do the work because you’re not worried about the deadline. All of a sudden it needs to be turned in and you had no idea because your teacher doesn’t really enforce deadlines.”

Pretty specific, but it’s also pretty common, despite what those outside of A-TECH would think. Sometimes, assignments are mentioned only to be blatantly disregarded until the due date magically appears as if selected with a random number generator. School would be an obvious stressor, but it’s one of the few that we can’t get rid of without disappointing someone.

Lizbeth Pena said, “The idea that I’m not going to be able to finish everything that I need to do stresses me out. There’s a lot of things that I need to do, that I want to do that time won’t allow. I think that I won’t have enough time for stuff, which is kind of scary.”

For students at A-TECH, time seems to be the worst construct that humans decided to pay attention to and build society around. There never seems to be enough time to get all of the projects done, study with the intent of acing that test, socialize enough to not feel alone, volunteer enough with intent of being well-rounded, relax enough not to hate yourself, go out enough to feel happy, and sleep enough not to feel and look dead.

There are only 24 hours in a day, six and a half of which are spent in school and two of which are spent sleeping, but the 15 and a half hours left still isn’t enough because then you add procrastination and other issues into the mix and you just can’t. It’s a real pickle that a lot of students get into, even if you just think about everything you have to do with the time you have left.

“Lots of things like regular, outside of school things stress me out, but, over the year, I’ve just come to be less stressed out about school. I’ve stopped, just, being as involve, so it’s not that it stresses me out more than it’s just like—somethings make me sad about school. Just like, knowing the realization that I have nothing to do with my free time because if I’m not at school, I’m just at home doing nothing gets to me,” said Alex Velez Marcial.

School may stop stressing you out, but, for where they are right now, it will leave sophomores with nothing to do. You haven’t really figured out your life yet, so, though school stress is eliminated, the daunting challenge of having a life outside of school smacks you in the face. Maybe it was better holding on to school stress.

“The main thing that stresses me out is just trying to balance extracurriculars and school homework. The weekend is just me trying to figure out how to do that. My extracurriculars are tied to my ‘outside of school’ life like community service and improv competitions, cause that’s a thing, and it just adds more stress,” said Jonathon Perez.

It sounds like a lot, and it is a lot. Not only do you have the stress of the eight classes you go to five days a week, but you have the added stress of being a well-rounded individual by doing something outside of school. If you really think about it, that’s just an absolute mess for a fifteen or sixteen year old to deal with by themselves.

Aiden Stroman similarly said, “The main thing that stresses me out is kind of trying to balance between AP work, your regular work, extracurricular activities, and, then, also trying to balance a home life that’s not necessarily balanced in its own sense, especially when the family’s kind of dysfunctional.”

Family life comes before your school life, but that doesn’t mean the stress from either will stop just for you. Nowadays, there is no “average American household” that actually seems to fit. There is some type of “imperfection” in a family, one way or another, and that’s okay. It adds more to your plate, though, because you need to be careful about how you deal with the stress from both places in your life as a teenager without lashing out.

“You just have to look at everything and realize that not everything is going to be the end of the world.” Perez Said. “Sometimes, you’re just going have to deal with it, and one way to, kind of, escape is to talk to friends outside of school, just to be able to talk about something–focus on something that’s not, like, due tomorrow.”

Probably the most responsible coping mechanism someone can have is doing something that relaxes you. It may only temporarily stave off the stress, but it can make you feel so much better in the long run.

“Sleep helps me cope, though. I sleep all the time, and I feel better,” said Pena.

Sleep may not be prioritized, but it occurs at some point because it’s the only real way to push through. It’s the rare occurrence that may seem to add stress, but is one of the few that may leave you feeling better when it comes down to it.

“My coping mechanism, if anything I’ve learned it from psych, is conditioning. I’ve actually gotten at it, conditioning myself. You tell yourself to soldier up, basically,” said Stroman.

Kind of like Dory, you have to keep swimming because you’ll find your way, eventually. Stress is much like a tunnel, the only way out being through. It’ll be a scary and anxiety inducing journey, but you learn to deal since it will always be there.

There’s a little over a quarter left before the sophomores are juniors. They’ll have to prepare for an entirely new set of stressors because junior year equals college applications which is no fun. Life is this never ending cycle of stress, so you learn to deal.