Higher Leveled Stress

Cheyenne Reilly, Critics Corner Editor, Writer

A, B, C, D, E. These letters dictate the lives of high school students everywhere. At some point, it becomes necessary to wonder: what is the value of each letter grade? Is an A in a standard class worth the same as a C in an AP class? Students overloaded with AP classes tend to wonder whether the stress is all worthwhile.

Junior Rhianon Reilly says, “Many of my teachers tend to recommend that I move up a level with their subjects despite the fact that I am already struggling to maintain good grades in the current level I am at.” This experience begets the question: What good does it do being in a GT/AP class if the student is not going to succeed?

“I would only recommend taking no more than two [classes], no matter what the staff says,” warns a senior who decided to drop down from her two AP classes because of the stress it brought her.

The difficulty with multiple upper level classes is the exponential increase in the workload. This is due to the difficulty and amount of assignments given. However, as a result of this rigor, one Long Reach sophomore acknowledges, “higher level classes will prepare me for college courses.”

While these classes do have their benefits for some, they may be the downfall of students who cannot quite handle the pressure.

“I literally don’t have any free time. I am constantly stressed about finishing work and studying that I barely have time for myself,” claims Reilly. The workload of homework adds about two or more hours on a student’s seven hour day.

Stress, especially when it is not countered with recuperative time, may affect the immune system by making the body vulnerable to infection. If a student gets sick and cannot come to school, they are going to fall  behind and become overwhelmed. It becomes a cyclical dynamic.

At the same time, stress can be just what is needed to get a job done. Adrenaline helps you focus on important details and avoid distractions, increasing efficiency.

“I think the main benefit of stress is pushing you to finish an assignment or do well,” says Freshman Samuel Kohnen. “If I’m stressing out over not finishing a project on time, the stress that it causes makes me get done early.”

Avoiding stress is next to impossible. Handling stress properly is the issue that students face because most do not know how to handle it. “I can’t handle stress well and I think that’s a skill I’ll need to improve on to continue advanced classes,” says Kohnen.

Reilly says that students should “make sure [they] take breaks.” She cautions, “Don’t try to cram everything in at once.”

The key to success, and managing those stress levels, is time management. Those AP classes are worth the added pains because the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.

Ironically, embracing stress and using it as motivation can be the way to complete work and decrease that stress. Ignoring stress is giving into failure. Once you learn how to manage it, you are sure to be on the path to success.