Stressors and strains: Organization and planning beats back strain

Stress buckles down with an iron grip at schools. Some students and staff admit that stress is impactful to their life in some way; whether it be expectations students have for themselves, expectations from society, physical stress, or some other factor. Work related stress is one of the largest sources of stress, especially at school according to a study done by Dr. P. Suresh Prabu, and at DHS, that is no exception. However, how much stress students feel, what the source is, and how they deal with it varies from person to person.


“The way I look at it is I signed up for the classes, so I know what to expect,” senior Sami El Nachef said. “Of course, that comes with stress, but that’s why I keep my mentality is I know what I signed up for, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to accomplish that goal. So, even though it is stressful, I know that if I stay focused, it’s worth the stress.”


Similar to some students, El Nachef found that a majority of his stress comes from the courses he takes and the amount of work that goes into them.


“I always make sure to be balanced and know what assignment is more important than the other,” El Nachef said. “Even though that may not sound correct, some assignments are usually worth more than others, and require more attention. I think that’s the main thing for me, knowing what’s more important at the time, what to focus on, knowing my abilities in the class.”


Students all over have to balance schedules filled with school work, and El Nachef was not the only student to voice how he deals with stress.


“I would say I feel less stressed senior year than junior year,” senior Hannah Jackson said. “I think that’s because I’ve gotten a lot better at time management.”


Jackson found that taking time to organize her assignments helped her better manage her work. Wrapping her mind around the task in a healthy manner was key.


“It’s something that I’m still working on, but I’ve found that if, upon receiving an assignment, I break it into chunks, make an outline, plan it all out, then everything seems more manageable,” Jackson said. “I have this to do this night, this to do the next night, instead of it just being one giant project due the next day.”


Students are not the only people who have academic and career stress. Everyone has to deal with it.


“After you’ve done this for 22 years that stress level kind of peaks and valleys,” teacher and basketball coach Lee Meitler said. “You kind of learn after a while that you don’t get too upset about stuff because you’ve done it so often that you know how to handle those stressful situations. You’re better at dealing with those stressful situations.”


Meitler works with special education students, as well as being a basketball coach. He found that the amount of work dealt to him was sometimes the source of most of his stress.


“So, in my job, there’s a tremendous amount of paperwork in the world of special education,” Meitler said. “So, there’s sometimes where these IEPs, for students with disabilities. There’s a tremendous amount of paperwork involved. I had six of those in one week, which is unheard of. Basically, 45 minutes to an hour for each IEP, so that’s six additional hours. So that’s stressful at times, but you’re better equipped now to realize to not worry about it you’ll get it done.”


People will always have to deal with stress from multiple sources. Focus and efficiency is a common key for toning down and dealing with stress. Counselors have to deal with stress every day, not just from their own job, but in helping others through their stress as well. Counselor Doug Bradford gave advice that one of the best ways to deal with stress is to stay organized.


“Instead of trying to finish all these things at once, and to find out that you’ve only finished half of four assignments, you should devote time to one assignment at a time, and then you’ll see much more success,” Bradford said.


Bradford also put forward the importance of students and teachers giving themselves time to relax in between working.


“If you can set aside an hour or so in your schedule to just sit down and relax and indulge in one of your hobbies or something, that is a very good way of relieving stress,” Bradford said.


Though stress is a hardship that everyone can face, some students are able to make sure it doesn’t have an impact on their success. Some psychologists suggest that stress can even be healthy for people, if treated in the right way, in the right doses. Stress can overwhelm and dominate, it is true, but with the right mindset and organization, stress can become less and less of a problem for everyone.


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Zach Parfeniuk

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