How to get away with high school
February 27, 2015
“High school is the best time of your life! Live it up!” chime teachers, counselors and parents.
It’s easy for them to say– they don’t have to balance rigorous AP/Dual classes, time-consuming clubs and sports, prolonged college placement tests, not to mention an almost non-existent social life.
Don’t get me wrong– high school definitely can be the best years of a person’s life. But if students are drowning in stress about school and college and their futures, forget having a good time.
In my (almost) three years of high school, I have found that the key to keeping stress in check is balance.
Finding a good balance differs from person to person, however there are certain steps you can take to reduce your stress. By following these tips, I can guarantee that your scholastic burdens will go “bye-bye.”
Tip One: Get organized and plan ahead
Many students don’t realize that a large portion of their academic anxiety has to do with being disorganized. With your papers jumbled up in your bookbag and your clothes strewn across your floor, your stress will only increase.
Now, I’m not saying become a neat freak, but by spending an extra 5-10 minutes straightening your bedroom each day, you’ll create a tidy workspace for yourself when it comes time to study.
Another component of organization is time management. Keep a planner or a calendar on your phone and keep track of when assignments are due, or make a “to do” list each night and cross things off each time you complete something.
Making lists has actually been proven to reduce stress, and by staying on top of when things are due, you can easily eliminate the pressures of disorganization.
Tip Two: Schedule time to relax
In mastering the art of planning, students often forget to reserve time for themselves.
“Me time” is actually quite beneficial, because it allows you to take a break and step away from what needs to get done for a short period of time.
These brief pauses can occur in the form of anything from baking cookies to taking a tranquil bubble bath or playing a rowdy video game. The point is to let yourself unwind doing something you enjoy so that when you return to your work, you feel reenergized.
However, it can be easy to get carried away with downtime. My advice is to take a 10 minute break every 30 minutes or so, so your brain has a chance to relax before diving back into studying. If your intermissions occur more often than this, it may be beneficial to reassess your new schedule.
Tip Three: Eat healthy and exercise!
This is a big one. High school students are notorious for consuming anything crunchy, crispy, chewy or cheesey. And while I love snacking as much as the next kid, these tantalizing foods can actually increase stress.
There are two types of high schoolers– those who stress-eat, and those who stress-starve. However, neither of these practices will actually alleviate stress.
Now-again-I’m not saying become a vegan and eat nothing but greens for the rest of your life. But, scientifically, it is proven that proteins such as almonds and beef jerky, or vegetables such as carrots and celery will give you the energy you need to complete your assignments.
By consuming sugary, saturated snacks, however, you will actually be doing the opposite. Sugar is known to give you an energy boost for an hour or so, until you crash and burn and are consumed with feelings of ickiness.
My advice– keep a good balance between nutritious snacks and “unhealthy” snacks. If you want a bag of chips, go for it! But be sure to counteract those chips with some nourishing nosh as well.
Similarly, keep your body fit and spend at least 20 minutes a day doing some form of physical activity. This movement will release endorphins, which will help calm you and get you to focus on the task at hand.
Such exercise can be as easy as an easy jog down the block with your dog, or as intense as an hour of weight-lifting.
Tip Four: Breathe.
Now, there will be nights when you get home from school and realize you have math homework to complete, a physics test to study for, new French vocabulary to memorize, a language arts essay to write and two chapters of your history textbook to read.
These nights will happen, no matter how much you plan to avoid them. Sometimes there is an endless list of things to do, and the most important thing to do in these situations is to keep calm and breathe.
By simply taking a deep breath and not letting the stress of the moment get to you, you will be able to focus and get everything on your list accomplished.
I am a senior at OHS and this is my fourth year in the OC Journalism Department and my second year as editor-in-chief. I enjoy writing, running, watching...