Will you let the 2019-2020 school year affect you?

Students deal with the onset of stress that comes with the new school year


Emma Humphries and Sydney Vallier

We all had a great summer. Stress levels went down a lot, we sunbathed, went to the pool, traveled, and spent time doing a whole lot of nothing. Missing it already? Us too. Now that we got dragged back into another year, there comes a whole new set of things we have to worry about. Waking up on time, getting everything turned in, and getting good grades. It can pile up! Now is the perfect time to start thinking about how we’re going to get back into the swing of things with the least amount of stress possible.

According to the American Psychological Association, teens reported an average stress level of 5.8 out of 10. This compares to a stress level of 5.1 in adults. Even during the summer, our stress levels are higher than the recommended healthy amount. A 4.6 is not close enough to a 3.9. However, 54% of teens also report that their stress has no effect on their physical or mental health, versus 39% of unaffected adults. Even though stress may not weigh as heavily on us as it does for adults, it is not something to ignore.

A big way that stress affects all teenagers is restlessness. Once all the homework is done after midnight and weary students are finally in bed, stressed thoughts enter their minds. “Did I really do everything for AP Lang? Is that project in Chem due Friday? I hope not. I don’t remember if I color-coded my categorilla fully. Did I turn in my college application essay?” With all of these thoughts, how can you sleep? Working on homework before it is due, having everything done before your bedtime, and breathing exercises can all help you sleep better despite all that weighs on you. Stressed thoughts can be managed in multiple ways, such as eating three meals a day, sleeping 8-10 hours a night whenever possible, exercising, and taking time away from technology and social media. Implementing these stress coping tactics can make this year so much better for everyone. 


Kylie Ainsworth, an FCHS senior, gave some good advice on how to stay on top of stress. She is not currently involved in anything, but she was in the concert and symphonic bands last year. When reflecting on her high school experience, she recalled her easy freshman year, and how she chose that route to begin her high school experience. “Sophomore year was making up for that,” she admitted. “Everyone says junior year is your hardest year and it definitely was. I was taking a lot of hard classes.” To destress from these hard classes, Kylie makes an effort to decide what needs to be completed first and goes down her list as she works. 

Maddie Spenner, a freshman, is already feeling the weight of high school. Her involvement in the Humanities institute, Just One Africa club, FCA leadership team, track team, and the basketball team is beginning to add up. She never really experienced stress in middle school. “In middle school, stress was kind of a small thing for me. Of course, I would get a little overwhelmed when I would get a lot of homework or had a lot of upcoming tests, but I knew that in the end, I would get my work done.”  She says her stress has increased in her time in high school. “Most of my stress has been related to getting my work done and getting good grades, so I have been managing that by trying my best to study and get my work done so I’m prepared for class.” She has been staying on top of stress by planning out her week and appropriately placing homework in between her many activities.

This year is shaping up to be a good one. Take control of your stress and you are guaranteed to do well in your classes. We hope that your stress is managed well and you have a successful year!