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Semester end ignites stress

Final deadlines approach and pressure increases to raise an 89% to 90% in English. Soccer practice intensifies to gear up for playoffs and an argument with mom over curfew seems like too much to handle. Academics, extra-curricular activities and relationships can contribute to stress in teens.

?I feel most stressed during the end of the semester,? Paige Maltos, ?10, said. ?I play basketball and when we come home after away games, it’s so hard to find any energy to do anything extra, even homework. This time of year is also really hard with yearbook deadlines; I feel this way all the time. If I don?t have something to do I know something is wrong.?

According to American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the top three causes of stress in teens are: school demands and frustrations, negative thoughts and feelings about themselves and changes in their bodies.

Freshman Jessica Massie, among others, finds main stress source to stem from tests.

?Studying for tests and quizzes causes me the most stress,? Massie said, ?because putting all that I learned right in front of me to review is overwhelming in itself. I try to set aside one hour for each subject I am supposed to study so it does not all pile up.?

Junior varsity football player, Abel Carreon, ?11, agrees with Massie.

?Projects for school are the most stressful things for me,? Carreon said. ?They take up so much time and you have to be very precise.?

AACAP?s other common causes of stress are: problems with friends or peers at school, unsafe living environment/neighborhood and separation or divorce of parents.

?My parents are living in Taiwan and I?m currently living with my aunt,? Peter Yang, ?09, said. ?Sometimes being that far away from my family adds stress, when I?m upset or not doing well in school. But, I?m going to visit [my parents] over Christmas break and am looking forward to it.?

Not only are teenagers overwhelmed by stress, it also takes its toll on teachers and adults.

Spanish teacher Melanie Downie-Dack finds anxiety when it comes to teaching, outside of test corrections and organizing lesson plans.

?I always worry about whether I?m doing a good job at teaching,? Downie-Dack said, ?and providing the best resources for the students to learn.?

Downie-Dack believes she can identify a student brought down by stress.

?Students normally will suddenly become upset and give up real easily on homework when they are stressed,? Downie-Dack said. ?When I start seeing this, I sit down with them and try to reinforce what they do know so that they can overcome the stress.?

Girls? peer counseling teacher, Molly Sargent, believes that school stresses out all students on campus.

?Although it may not seem like it, everyone is stressed by school at some point in their life,? Sargent said. ?They may not all be stressed by the same thing; like students who are high achievers, when they get a B that might cause them stress.?

When students come to Sargent for help she believes that no matter what the situation is, there is always hope.

?Most teens have a difficult time seeing what is beyond right now,? Sargent said. ?I try to help them see the big picture so that they can overcome it. For me to overcome stress I talk to God all day long and ask him to help me see what the student is trying to tell me.?

Sophomore Sarah Hollingsworth deals with her stress by getting enough sleep and exercise.

?Sports, family and friends are the most stressful things to me,? Hollingsworth said. ?They all require something from you and you have to meet the expectations, so having enough sleep and exercise work together to overcome my stress.?

When Sargent counsels students she must remember that the students? parents are the authority.

?I am always wanting to give counsel to students, but I always have to keep in mind that the parents are their authority,? Sargent said. ?It is not my job to be a student’s parent. When a student is stresses out with family problems, I feel I need to help them. Their parents might see things in a different light. That is the hard part of my job; teaching class is a breeze.?

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    Jessa SearlesJan 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I wish I could do the splits like the girl in the green shirt. I’ll unfortunately never be flexible.

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