Stressed out: students reflect on stressors in school

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Working Student: Junior Hannah Davis

After an eight-hour school day, it’s straight home to change into her work uniform and then out the door for the long drive to work for junior Hannah Davis. 

Davis works around 30 hours a week as a shift manager at Blaze Pizza in Frisco. She usually starts work at 5 p.m. and closes at 11 p.m. if she’s scheduled on weekdays. Due to her busy schedule balancing work and school, Davis often finds herself stressed and having no time to relax. 

“Now that I’m not a new person anymore, they schedule me a lot more,” Davis said. “I’ve kind of gotten used to it, but I don’t really like it. I like working, I just don’t like working as much as I do with school.”

Davis tries to complete homework during lunch at school because she doesn’t have much time at home. Her classes include Algebra II, dual credit Humanities, Psychology and ASL III. She said her performance in school and her social life is affected by her job. 

“I had an essay in dual credit and I had two weeks to do it,” Davis said. “I didn’t have a single day in the week to do it except for the day before. It was three or four pages, and it was the worst essay – I got a 70 on it. I stayed up really late working on it, so that stresses me out a lot. I was really tired the next day.”

Davis said despite enjoying her job and coworkers, she is considering quitting because she wants to focus on school and preparing for the SAT. Davis thinks the experience of the job and the stress will help her in the future. 

“I’m learning how to cope with it and how to deal with it,” Davis said. “And when I actually have to have a job to provide for myself, then it’ll be easier. People that don’t know are going to be thrown into the real world and they’re not going to know how to cope with it and be really stressed out and have really bad mental health. I think even though I’m really stressed out, everything else in my life is going well.”

Band Kid: Sophomore Jackson Fowers

It’s a cold and rainy Friday night, following a tough morning rehearsal, as the band takes its place on the field to perform. Sophomore Jackson Fowers is exhausted after the band’s halftime show during one of four football games in October. 

Fowers is a squad leader for his section in the band and a member of the acapella choir. In between band, choir and school work, Fowers finds it hard to catch a break.

“I found that you have to know when you’re going to have time for band practice so you have to get that in your schedule and get your homework,” Fowers said. “So it’s just a lot of practice with those skills and managing your time.”

Fowers has been involved in music for most of his life: in first grade he began playing piano, in fourth grade he started choir and in fifth grade he started band. Fowers said his extracurriculars help relieve his stress despite keeping him busy.

“Band and choir are the ways I relieve my stress,” Fowers said. “When I’m in band and choir, it kind of just goes away for a little bit because I just love making music and being around the people I’ve been around for years and years and that kind of relieves your stress.” 

Fowers said he sometimes feels burnt out when his schedule gets busy with choir auditions and marching season. However, he said his teachers are understanding. 

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘man I want to quit,’ but there’s some moments where you’re performing and you’re like ‘wow, this is why I’m doing this,’” Fowers said. 

AP Junkie: Junior Sammi Kwon

Junior Sammi Kwon sketches a portrait; each stroke of the pencil helps release some of the stressful feelings in her mind. She does art to forget the pressures of life, at least for a little while. By the time the portrait is finished, she has taken a much needed break from the work of all of her AP classes.

“I’m in AP Calculus, AP Humanities, AP Physics C and Academic Decathlon this semester and I consider myself highly stressed,” Kwon said. “The workload, expectations from peers, parents and teachers and the constant worry about grades and my future stresses me out a lot.”

Kwon said AP classes are more stressful because there is more content to learn and there is the AP test that students must pass at the end of the year in order to receive college credit for the course. 

“AP classes are usually stressful because there’s just so much to learn and absorb in such a short amount of time that there’s no leisure or time to take it my own speed,” Kwon said.

Kwon said stress becomes hard to handle at times when she is overwhelmed by the load of requirements from each of her classes.

“Everything should be in moderation, and stress is no exception,” Kwon said. “A good amount of stress is helpful for motivation and is actually necessary for human survival. But when that stress gets too much because of overlapping tests or events happening all at once, it gets hard to handle and manage in a sane way.”

When Kwon gets stressed from school, she resorts to music, drawing, embroidering or napping. 

“I try to get myself to do something I enjoy so that I forget about the pressures of life at least for the time I’m distracting myself,” Kwon said.

Athlete: Alisha Patel

Senior Alisha Patel walks onto the tennis court and takes a deep breath of fresh air. After spending seven to eight hours in the classroom, getting outside to hang out and practice with her teammates is a welcomed relief. With the full amount of focus and athleticism needed to play tennis, Patel gets the chance to forget about the pressures of the school day.

“It’s not only the course work because I’m in eight APs and I have homework every day for at least four hours,” Patel said. “But also college applications – I’m a senior this year, so it’s critical that I get through all of my applications and write all my essays.”

Patel is in AP Art History, AP English 4, AP Calculus AB and AP Psychology this semester and AP Calculus BC, AP European History, AP Government and AP Economics next semester. 

“I think I get extremely stressed when it’s just at the point when I’m not scheduling out my work and I find myself to be burdened with an overwhelming amount where I can’t really deal with it,” Patel said. “At certain times, it all piles up on me at one time and I start freaking out. If it all happens at once, then I don’t really get a chance to deal with it, and instead of actually scheduling myself and deciding when I want to do it, I spend my time freaking out.” 

Patel said being on varsity tennis does affect her stress levels because there is a time commitment.

“Tennis is pretty crazy because in the first nine weeks of first semester we have matches after school,” Patel said. “Second semester we have tournaments all day, so I’m missing a lot of school. That’s a lot of the reason why I’m stressed out.”

To cope with the stress of tennis, AP classes and her personal life, Patel pours her energy into other activities when she gets a chance. 

“I’m really into art,” Patel said. “I have been for a very long time. I find painting to be very calming for me. I’ll sit down, take five hours out of my day and just draw or paint something, which is great. I also like to go running; it’s nice to clear my mind. I do meditation which helps me calm myself. Other than that, just spending time with my family and eating.”