B. McDowell (Illustration by H. Younger) - For the past few months my young mind has felt trapped by the tiresome and stressful cycle of school, and have wished for a lifestyle change that would break said cycle. Recently I’ve learned that a major lifestyle change doesn’t always dispel mundanity or stress.
Recent events regarding COVID19 have left students in the US lost in a cloud of uncertainty. What does the future hold? How will this affect my record? Will they curve the grade? I find the irony of the situation hilarious, because despite all these mind fogging questions, I’ve found myself spending my time reflecting on my life and how to improve it when the fog clears. All this reflection has led me in a circle; when looking at the common causes of stress in my life, there's one that’s always there: school. Looking at the chaos around me, it’s shocking to delve into my mind and see that my primary cause of stress is school. The other day I saw children playing in the street wearing medical masks and all I can think about is my GPA. Not only am I angry, I’m confused. I don’t mind school. I’m extremely privileged to be able to attend a private school, I love going to school to see my friends and I’m even excited by particular classes, so why is it so stressful?
When researching some of the factors regarding stress caused by school, I discovered some causes that resonated with me:
Students with poor organizational skills often feel overwhelmed and closed in by the workload they’re given.
Difficulty engaging in classes can be stressful as well as make tests and homework more difficult.
A sheer lack of time to complete work is terrifying. Even if there is “enough” time in a day to complete all of one’s work, there’s no time left for socializing, hobbies, exercise, etc.
SLEEP! Sleep is CRUCIAL to a healthy brain! Often students pull all nighters just to get work done, and if they don’t the stress caused by a heavy workload can cause insomnia, so it’s a lose lose either way.
Lack of a consistent routine, or a complicated schedule, can cause stress in students as well.
These are just a few examples that I personally felt were prevalent in my life as a student. As someone with ADHD, my ADHD is behind many of these struggles, and knowing there are hundreds of thousands of kids with ADHD in the US, I know I’m not alone on this one.
While digging up all this information, I didn’t lose compassion for the teachers and officials out there who are passionate about teaching, and genuinely try to make school a friendly place. There isn’t really anybody behind this issue, orchestrating a plot to make students miserable, it’s just that we need to draw more attention to it.
In the end I’m still salty that it took a literal epidemic for my mind to be clear enough to come to this conclusion, however, I’m still glad it happened, because next year I can walk into school with a new mindset.