It is safe to say that the majority of our nights are spent studying for quizzes, writing essays and preparing for exams, sometimes all occurring on the same day.
Sure, many of us have chosen to align ourselves with the competitive nature of high school, taking a couple or half a dozen Advanced Placement and honors classes and doing multiple extracurricular activities, myself included. The healthy stress from challenging ourselves provides an avenue to our destinations: our dream colleges and our unique visions of success.
Although the second semester of junior year is arguably one of the hardest semesters of high school, high school itself hasn’t been a normal endeavor at all. From the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to the height of it during the 2020-2021 school year, we haven’t fully adjusted to the rigors of high school.
Many of us are tired, even though our mentality might be to just “cope” and move on with the next day. The majority of us are suffering from exhaustion and a steady decrease of self-fulfillment, caused by the rigors of junior year and the post-pandemic mental stress from isolation.
Solutions to truly help ease the second semester stress would be to hold student-teacher panels. Having face-to-face conversations would be the most tangible way to solve this issue. Another possible way is to have opportunities for bonding, such as retreats and special activities. With the world slowly opening up, maintaining relationships is another solution to ease the stress of school and COVID-19. The addition of study halls to complete and get ahead of homework could be helpful for students balancing multiple responsibilities.
There is a fine line between mental health and academic achievement, and burnout doesn’t belong there. It may be daunting as high schoolers in particular have to balance school demands, platforms for social interaction, the possibility of getting COVID-19 and navigating post-graduate plans. The added stress could lead to many symptoms such as anxiety and depression, loss of social interaction and physical sickness.
Thus, it is absolutely imperative that we balance and prioritize, not sacrifice, health in order to ease burnout. It is also important to communicate and address needs from both the students and teachers to fight this crisis.
From the bottom of my heart, class of 2023, I truly understand how you are feeling.