Who’s Stressed? We Are!

These are four ways on how you should deal with it


Credit: Cheryl Harris-Sumida

Cheryl Hasu, Adviser

     Stress?  Who’s stressed? Surely, not the relaxed-looking OFHS students that we teachers see every day in the hallway…NOT!  

     You know, from the nervous, bordering on maniacal, laughter coming from the upperclassman hallway, I would say that there are a high number of upperclassmen that are highly stressed due to classes, and activities both in and outside of school.

     We are going to analyze some of the stressors that students face here at Oak Forest High School and then we are going to offer some ideas as to how you can combat your stress when you feel it creeping up on you.

     Many students are stressed because they are involved in many activities and/or sports. Logically, one might say, “Drop everything except the ONE thing that you love the best,” but this is not always practical when one is trying to build a well-rounded resume of activities and/or sports to show a college what a good candidate he/she is! So students here at OFHS are left trying to juggle their activities and sports and personal commitments and keep all of these balls from dropping to the floor.

     Many OFHS students would agree that a student’s Junior year is THE most stressful, followed by Senior year. Senior Shea Scott said, “100%: last year was terrible.  I had 4 AP courses, the play, the musical, the Madrigal, GI, speech, and family things.” Junior Aidan O’Brien added that for him, “Hockey and Volleyball make it hard to keep up with homework.” Junior Isabel Knight said that her Junior year has been just exhausting. “It’s super tiring. It is hard to [do what I want which is to] volunteer at the Museum of Science and Industry,” she said.

     The school newspaper editors are always under a deadline but they still feel pressure with their classes.  Senior Alexa Estrada, the Opinions Editor, said that even when she DOESN’T have an assignment, she still can feel pressured and stressed out.  She said, “It’s intense. It’s [the pressure] is always there. Even if you don’t have an assignment now, there is always one hanging out there.” Assistant Sports Editor AND basketball player Kyla Davis said, “I spiral if I don’t do well. I’ll tell myself: ‘I’ll fail the class, I will fail out of school and live on my mother’s couch!’”

     Senior Mickey Marcheschi said, “It’s too much pressure…sometimes.  It’s a lot to do….assignments, events for your club that line up at the same time–I have to do this since I have done it for three years–I am expected to do it. Like last year with the musical, the SAT landed the same week. That was rough. I wanted to go over things but couldn’t. In AP testing, I DON’T feel pressured because I feel like I’ve been practicing for a month so it wasn’t as stressful as I thought and I did well.”

     Senior Juan Avila is feeling the pressure this year as well.  He felt it as the quarterback of the Bengal Football team, and he is feeling it now, as one of the star shooters of the 20-1 Bengals Basketball team.  He said, “I have performance stress–definitely!

Pullquote Photo

Before a big game I am nervous until after the first play and then everything goes as [we have] planned.”

— Juan Avila

The pressure in basketball is–no matter who you are playing–they will score fast–whoever runs and makes the most stops on defense–we have to stop them.”

     A person or a player on a team can make a difference in reacting a different way to stress by choosing to react a certain way.  Basketball coach Matt Manzke said, “Avila does a lot for his teammates in his example. He doesn’t get rattled or at least he doesn’t show it.  He keeps others in a comfy state of mind.”

     Our students have suggested different things they do you to help relieve their stress when everything comes crashing in them at the same time and recommend that you try these things as well:

  1. Listen to music or meditate. Juan Avila says there are different levels of stress and sometimes things are not as bad.  When that is the case, he listens to music to calm down. Different music can help you calm down for different things.  For example, a piece of certain music can help you get focused and calm before a big test. On bigger games, the “stress level is bigger.  I think of my family and that helps calm me down,” he said. Meditating on things that take you to a pleasant place in your mind (either with or without music) is often helpful in alleviating feelings of stress
  2. Learn something new and focus on that.  Shea Scott said that taking classes she enjoys helps take her stress off. And then, outside of classes and her various activities, Scott keeps herself very busy with a lot of varied activities.  She said, “I’m a jack of all trades. I like to try different things. I like to run, I paint, I make jam, I carve wooden figures, and I find things to distract me. I’ve found it doesn’t matter what level you take your classes at as long as it is something you enjoy.” She advised, “Find your passions. When you lock on [to your passions], you will be less stressed.” Trying different things to do helps her settle her mind.
  3. Watch humorous sitcoms. (But set a definite time limit on yourself)  Aiden O’Brien likes to give his brain a break when he can and “chills with Netflix, watches “The Office” and has a snack or hangs out with friends after school although that is rare because of homework.
  4. Make sure to sleep and get a good night’s rest. Isabel Knight takes a break from stress with a nap. This snaps the negative stress hamster wheel and afterward, she wakes up refreshed and ready to study again. On the subject of sleep, make sure you are sleeping enough every night! Most students don’t sleep ENOUGH to feel fully rested per night. Studies show teens need at least 8 hours to feel fully rested.

     The best news is that each of these items above is free! Each of them can help calm you down and relieve the stress you may be feeling this year.

     What do you do to combat stress in your student life?  Post your comments below and let the Vedas know!