As first quarter draws to end, the projects and tests start to pile up, so it’s no wonder that many McNicholas high school students appear to be anxious. In a survey emailed on Sept. 29 to all 617 McNicholas students, 334 responded about their stress levels. The responses yielded a response rate of 59% of these students stating that they’ve neglected their personal needs such as their hygiene or sleep. Only 1% stated they are getting 9 or more hours of sleep on a regular basis.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, most teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep, and the majority of the students at McNick reported that they only get 5-6 hours. These lost hours can be attributed to homework, extracurriculars, and the increased use of electronics.
In the same student survey, 79% of students believe that most of their stress is related directly to school. “It’s definitely a lot of pressure. I feel like I have a reputation to live up to,” sophomore Myles Bailey said. Bailey is currently ranked first in the sophomore class.
Junior Wade Brokamp, who is ranked second in his class based on GPA, said. “I feel obligated to take all the toughest classes.”
Another issue is procrastination with 64% of students reporting that they often procrastinate. “It’s all about time-management. I play football and do other extracurricular activities, too, so I have to put aside time for homework,” senior Zach Woodke said.
Out of the 334 students who responded, 68% said they feel overwhelmed more often than not. “I tell a lot of students that’s it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, because sometimes I think students ignore it and say that they are fine,” guidance counselor Kaitlyn Richter said.
Socializing with friends is one way students said they de-stress. “I work, but I also take breaks and make sure I’m hanging out with friends,” Bailey said.
Another way students say they try to alleviate stress is to be sure they understand the material for homework. “I talk to teachers, and make sure I understand the material,” Brokamp said.
Richter said that sometimes even having a good cry can help. “It’s okay to be emotional, I find that a lot of students hold in their emotions when releasing tears can actually be very helpful in reducing stress,” Richter said.
“If students feel stressed or like they need someone to talk to or they just need a place to vent, our department is always open,” Richter said.
According to the American Psychological Association, being stressed is normal for high school students, but if it continues at high levels it can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system, so it’s important to set aside time to de-stress.