Students cope with stress


Lauren Alison, Staff Writer

It’s Sunday night and it is crunch time for junior Rose Myers, who has just gotten back from a weekend-long softball tournament. After an eventful Friday night going to the Rochester varsity football game with friends as well as an intense couple of days competing, all Myers wants to do is sit back, relax and soon go to sleep. That is exactly what Myers would do if it weren’t for the hours of homework left to finish. Stressed and overwhelmed, Myers looks at the clock and knows that it will be a long night, and an even longer day tomorrow with the lack of sleep she is going to get.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is defined as the brain’s response to any type of demand. The three major things that cause stress include: routine stresses such as work, family and daily responsibilities; sudden negative change such as losing a job or getting a divorce; and traumatic stress such as a major accident or natural disaster.

Counselor Jennifer O’Toole-Seyka explains the variety of stressors that plague students today.

Students can face stress in multiple ways such as multiple tests on one day, arguments with friends, boy/girlfriend, not being prepared, falling behind and not seeking help,” Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka said.

Juggling a social life, sports, clubs and a demanding course load is just too much for some students today and can cause an unhealthy amount of stress and anxiety. Myers explains how stress can lead students to pick up negative habits in order to relieve stress.

“Some students fall into calming drugs because they feel over stressed,” Myers said. “Also, some try to stay up to finish everything when they are losing out on sleep which is bad for mental overload.”

Senior Salar Brikho agrees, adding that some of these habits can lead to other crutches.

“Caffeine is a horrible way that people think will help them when they are tired and stressed out. Caffeine will actually increase the stress level,” Brikho said. “Unfortunately, many students also tend to turn to drugs and alcohol in stressful times which can lead to addiction which will only cause more problems.”

Though many turn to unproductive ways to relieve stress, there are ways to deal with stress in a healthy and productive manner.

Students need to understand that a bad grade is not the end of the world. Also, students should try to get an acceptable amount of sleep because sleep has a huge impact on the amount of stress one has,” Brikho said. “I think that each student should try to have at least one day a week to just relax and not think about their problems.”

Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka elaborates on other healthy stress relief options.

“Listen to music, exercise, hang with friends, get outside, unplug from tech, get involved in something outside yourself,” Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka said. “Focus on the greater good, and just deal with the problem.”

Myers explains how she relieves stress when overwhelmed.

“When I’m stressed, sometimes I will go hit softballs off of a tree or works out to destress,” Myers said.

Though there are many great ways to relieve stress in a productive manner, it can sometimes be not enough and students should seek professional help.

“I think that one should seek outside help for stress at the point when one cannot manage to do work anymore, because their thoughts are all over the place,” Brikho said. Also, if a person can not sleep even though he or she already finished all of his or her responsibilities, that is a sign that they need to see a professional.”

Myers concurs, adding that everyone has a breaking point and should seek help when one reaches it.

“If you are feeling so overstressed that you feel you can’t handle it and feel yourself breaking down, you should seek outside help,” Myers said. Also, if you feel like you can’t focus fully on school to an extreme point because you are so overwhelmed.”

At the end of the day, everyone treats stress in different ways. Stress can have both physical and mental effects, so it is important to treat stress in whatever way works best for each person.

“Stay on top of academics and ask the moment you need help,” Mrs. O’toole-Seyka said.  “Don’t procrastinate or lie. Stay organized. Use a planner. Complete homework and study….  ASK FOR HELP.”