Daunting stress can be made manageable



According to recent data in the 2018 Brookline Student Health Survey, 84 percent of students at the high school reported overwhelming stress or anxiety during the past school year.

Nick Cloney, Staff Writer

You’re panicking. You just realized you have a test next period that you completely forgot to study for, and it is in your hardest class! You are so stressed that you feel like you might explode—but you don’t. It might feel impossible, but you make it through that test, and the next one, and the one after that. Even though you were told that starting high school would be the most stressful thing you’ve ever done, you slowly realize that you are in control of the stress in your life.

In contrast to popular belief, the stress that exists at the high school is manageable and can be lessened by making a few lifestyle changes.

According to guidance counselor Richard Gorman, there are adults at the school that are here to help.

“Whether it’s a social worker, or a guidance counselor, or one of your deans, or a teacher, it’s always good to have a couple of different people who you feel like you can talk to,” Gorman said. “Sharing those types of feelings is important.”

Junior Max Siegel said that a very important part of handling stress is not putting too much on your plate.

“I feel like the biggest thing overall is just balancing everything that’s going on,” Siegel said. “Especially here, there’s such a competitive atmosphere that makes you feel like you have to do everything that you possibly can—do the most classes that you can, do all the activities you can, and so on.”

School psychologist Robin Toback said that the amount of stress that students have depends a lot on the time of the year.

“I think that the beginning of the year can be [stressful] because there’s new things going on and you’re not sure how things will be,” Toback said. “But then, it ratchets up, there’s midterms, and more deadlines with testing, so it peaks and valleys over the course of the year.”

According to sophomore Jackie Gu, students also have the ability to manage how much stress they have from a day to day basis.

“I think that how stressful it is ends up being determined by how stressful you choose to make it,” Gu said. “It’s very easy to choose less stressful classes or do stress management techniques that help decrease the amount of stress.”

Gorman said that it is important for students under large amounts of stress for extended periods of time to figure out the underlying cause.

“I think that it’s normal for kids to experience stress at certain points in time, but what we don’t want is for there to be a level of stress that’s too high and long-lasting,” Gorman said. “If there’s so much that it is becoming a major part of your life, then that is something we may want to explore a little bit.”

Gu said that avoiding procrastination and keeping up with all assigned work is crucial for managing stress.

“The best way to deal with stress is by trying to prevent it. If you know that next week will be stressful for you, then try to get ahead with your work the week before,” Gu said. “Absolutely do not procrastinate because you will just be building up even more stress later on.”

According to Toback, maintaining a wide perspective in the midst of rough patches can help immensely.

“People tend to only focus on the negative things. It’s crucial that people remember that they’re more than just a grade, or a sport,” Toback said. “They are full, rounded human beings with multiple aspects to their lives, which they need to keep in mind.”

Siegel believes that the biggest thing for students who are dealing with stress to keep in mind is that it will not last forever.

“It’s really important to remember that whatever it is, it will pass,” Siegel said. “Even though you might have a lot of things to do at one time, you’ll get through them.”