Is Warren Stressed?

Isha Bordawekar, Staff Writer

It is a known fact that American teens experience large amounts of stress. In a survey conducted for the American Psychological Association, the average reported stress levels for teens topped the average reported stress levels for adults. Teens reported an average level of 5.8 out of 10 while adults reported a 5.1. About 30 percent of teens also reported feeling overwhelmed or depressed because of stress, and two-thirds of teens reported feeling tired. Around one-fourth of teens reported skipping a meal due to stress too. I wanted to see how stressed Warren students are, how they manage their stress, and how they felt the school could help them.

A freshman, N, told me she would rate her stress level a 7.5 out of 10. She attributed the stress to her concern about her grades. She also felt that her after school sport caused her some stress. It can be very difficult to balance school and after school activities. For freshman, it can be even more overwhelming to have a larger workload as well as more commitments than they’ve previously been used to. N also admitted to not having a very good mechanism to deal with stress. She says she stares at a wall when she’s feeling swamped with work. She thinks that the school should give less busy work and it would be helpful to incorporate stress management somewhere in the curriculum.

Two sophomores, A and M, both rated their stress levels a 5 out of 10. In school, they felt their homework and the pressure to get good grades stressed them out the most. Outside of school, they felt making plans and keeping up with their social life was stressful. Their lower stress levels may be attributed to the way they manage their stress. They both said they take time out of their day to relax and calm their nerves. Even though they reported lower stress levels, they felt that teachers should still reduce homework load.

One junior, L, rated her stress level an 8 out of 10. Her stress comes from her trying to get ready for college, figuring out where to go, and how to pay. She has found that stress has inhibited her drive, as when she is feeling too stressed, she gives up on her homework and just heads to bed. When her stress doesn’t get the best of her, she is staying up till 1 AM to complete her homework. Unfortunately, the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to be stressed the next day. It’s a never-ending cycle. L felt that AP teachers should communicate more to prevent overloading students’ schedules.

Finally, a senior, S, rated their stress level an 8 out of 10. They found it difficult to balance after school activities and homework. They were also upset that they lacked sleep nearly every day. Along with school, they were extra stressed because of having to apply to college. As a senior, they’ve been working very hard for the past three years to get into this dream college, and it’s finally the time to write it all out. It’s easy to question themselves. Is this enough? Will I get in? Can I afford this? Does my application look good? Though they are very stressed, they have good advice for other stressed students. “Make sure to sleep, even if it means sometimes skipping homework. Don’t be too hard on yourself.” They felt the school could promote mental health awareness even more and reduce the homework load to further help stressed students.

In conclusion, Warren students’ stress varies depending on many different factors. If they’re in after school activities, they have even less time in the day to complete work. If they’re a junior or senior, they have to study for the SAT, AP tests, or write their college applications. If they’re a freshman, they’re simply not used to the amount of work thrown at them. It’s important for students to learn how to manage their stress individually and in school. It’s also important to practice efficient time management. If students are guided through how to manage their work and balance their activities, they will be more successful and less tense. Compared to the 5.8 average found by the American Psychological Association, the Warren students I interviewed produced an average stress level of 6.7 out of 10. This is a very small sample of the student body, but it still gives some insight into the personal effects of stress. All the students seem to agree that teachers should give less busywork as well. As finals approach, make sure to get enough sleep, spend time with friends, and try not to get too overwhelmed. Everything will work out.