West High, stressed high
West High students discuss dealing with extreme stress during the school year.
November 9, 2015
With great power comes great responsibility, and with great responsibility comes great amounts of stress. According to a study done by the American Psychological Association in 2014, teens experience a seriously unhealthy level of stress, and West High students seem to agree.
Stress plays a major role in the daily lives of all people, and teenagers are no exception. A large portion of school stress comes from homework. Seventy-nine percent of students spend over two hours of their time working on homework. In some cases, students feel that these homework assignments do not assist in the learning process of the student, leaving them to do busy work. Add multiple extracurricular activities into the mix, and the product is one busy, stressed out teenager.
“Homework needs to be really truly valuable and really, truly necessary,” said social studies teacher Megan Johnson. “Sometimes, learning can be accomplished without having to have so much homework.” Johnson stated that even though busy work can sometimes be beneficial in preparing students for the real world, it also creates unnecessary stress for students. Homework is not the only stress-inducing factor–studying itself produces a fair amount of stress. “I can spend three hours preparing for four tests,” said Austen Mattingly ‘19. “Quizzes stress me out a lot, because you study for it so hard, and then they pull ten trick questions on you.” Other students claim that they are stressed out by extracurricular activities, jobs or family and social struggles. “Extracurricular activities take up three to six hours of every day. I often don’t have time to study for tests and quizzes,” said Izzy Martinez ‘18. Martinez is a member of the West High Girls Swimming team, as well as a member of props for Theatre West. She considers both activities to be rather time consuming and, at times, stressful. Biological side effects of stress include loss of sleep and lack of appetite. Chronic stress can also lead to panic, anxiety disorders and depression. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers need eight to ten hours of sleep to function the best. A survey conducted by interns of the West Side Story shows that West High students generally get only five to eight hours of sleep.
However, not all side effects of stress are bad. “Stress can definitely be motivating,” Johnson said. “Your body will release hormones that can stimulate you, so a low level of stress before a test can help you do well [on that test].”
Keeping stress to a minimum is definitely beneficial to both physical and mental health. There are many different methods to decrease stress levels.
“Sleep is so important when it comes to daily function, so more sleep is definitely a must,” Johnson said. “[Working on] time management, being willing to talk to teachers about the fact you’re being overwhelmed [will help you be less stressed].”
With finals in full swing, students can be considered more stressed than usual. As a top ranked school, West High students are encouraged to stay focused on what’s important, and to not let stress get the best of them.