“In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity”

Dealing with Stress as a Growing High School Student


CCAHS students’ input on which grade is more stressful academically

A popular quote about stress is one that William James stated. “ The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” There are the usual things that cause stress during high school. Some of the stressful factors include all of the assignments and turning them in on time, the college application process, dealing with drama, and home situations. Over the last few years, there have been more stressors than in the years before. 

Albert Einstein is a well-known man. Everyone knows of the work he has done, and this quote explains a lot. “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” During the Covid 19 stretch, high schoolers reported their stress levels were even higher than normal. Pew research center took the time to research the effect that Covid 19 had on schools. “ About three-in-ten high school students (31%) said they experienced poor mental health most or all of the time in the 30 days before the survey.” before this survey was taken they had also asked how stressed they have felt in the past. “In addition, 44% said that, in the previous 12 months, they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row such that they stopped doing some usual activities.” 

High school bullying has gone on for a while and can affect academic performance. According to an article that was posted by Finance Online, “72% of bullied private school students and 55% of bullied public school students believe their bullies can influence what other students think of them.” While school bullying is a stressor, it isn’t one of the most stressful things they go through. 

According to Finance Online, “44% of student challenges is stress and anxiety.” when looking at the smallest amount of stress is based on others. “only 3% take care of people who depend on me while I’m in school.” This is a wide gap in what challenges students have. Normal anxiety and stress can be more distracting than someone constantly asking you for answers on an assignment. One solution would be to talk to the teacher about the person bothering you. If that is a challenge, consider listening to music or choosing an activity that will help you place your head in another place. 

Freshman year is a new year being in a new building, New teachers, classes, friends, etc. Many people would say that Freshman year is a breeze. While that may be the case for some, it can be a challenging year for others. Ashley Sessions is a sophomore and is willing to admit a hard time in high school. “I felt that freshman year was the most stressful year because it was my first time in high school and having only four blocks a day which meant longer classes. It also means that I have more homework and responsibility than in middle school.” While middle school teachers try their best to prepare students for high school, it isn’t the same. Philip Helmke is a junior at CCA and talks about what made freshman year stressful because of the pandemic: “But it was more the whole massive pile of homework that came every time I was out for a little bit that punched me in the gut the hardest.”

The transition from freshman to sophomore year is the kick-off to the stress of the year. According to RB The Royal Banner, the stress load going from 9th to 10th is rocky, “Sophomore year is made stressful because of the workload, strictness of teachers, classes that are too difficult, and overall new environment.” Sophomore year is a stressor for many. During the sophomore year, many classes are more strict, some don’t allow retakes, and others don’t have any extra time to work on a project when they are absent. When asked what made sophomore year stressful, no one was willing to record what happened. When You ask a junior friend how stressful the year is, they will say it is like a campfire. Each time you add a piece of wood even small it will make the flame higher and hotter. There are so many things that juniors have to complete and only have 180 days to complete everything on their list. Hope Austin says it’s more than just Junior classes: “It just seemed like there was always a big test or project that was coming up or due soon. It is also the year I know a lot of people really start taking Kirkwood classes, and those can pile up work too. I wouldn’t say the year was god awful, but it was the most work.” Teen Life writes an article about Junior year stress and all of the things that juniors go through in class. “Students have to juggle a lot in their junior year. Heavy course loads, standardized testing, and extracurricular activities (not to mention trying to have a social life) can make it difficult for teens to balance everything on their plate.” Looking back, freshman year is a tap into high school water. Sophomore year is a dip in the water, while junior year is a dive into high school.

Avery Sexton, a Junior at CCAHS, is juggling a lot more than normal teen drama. “Teen life has something to say about the amount of colleges students are given.”Teens have to take a four-digit universe—2,242 colleges and universities—and turn it into a two-digit list of possibilities, “Mostly just juggling Kirkwood and not being good at algebra II and Chemistry.” Because so many Juniors are in Kirkwood, that work matters more than high school. Kirkwood is always set as the top priority, while everything else is at the bottom. 

In a senior year, there are so many things that go through their mind. They are taking the classes that they need to graduate, and sometimes are already working on college classes. But not all Students have their work done on time. Mathew talks more about the general senior year class, rather than his own thoughts. “Sometimes there are weeks where all of your teachers assign a large assignment but these are pretty rare. Nominally this comes from us procrastinating an assignment until we have to rush to get it done. The other cause of stress comes from the teachers not explaining the subject well enough. We have questions but don’t know how to get answers for them.”

Love to Know talks about what happens during senior year, “Their coursework is more difficult than ever, they have pressures of getting into the “right” college or what they will do for work upon graduation, and they fear what life will be like away from all the people they have been with for so many years.” Seniors have a lot of stress, they have college visits, and scholarship applications to fill out. August says that College school work is more important than school work at this point in life. “ applying for scholarships and doing essays is also difficult to manage on top of school work, and the ACTs/SATs.” When picking a college can be hard. Some go to a college to follow their friends, while others look at the details of the college and what it offers. There is no way to tell what college is the right college for a senior, only they can decide. 

There are many things that high schools offer students, but what about stress levels? There are so many things that make students stressed.