Chill out; stress is not a competition

Katrina Filer, Editor-in-Chief

We are all aware of the battle that is waged at our lunch tables the day following a long night of frustrating calculus problems, a monstrous physics packet, an English essay that could dismay Dickens, or a history test on three hereto unread history chapters.

It goes something like this: you and your friends start comparing hours of sleep. Someone will begin insisting that they are the most tired, someone else will demand sympathy because they got home at 11:00 last night, and another person will butt in, saying, “You don’t even know!” and launch into an extensive list of his or her extra-curriculars.

However tempting it may be to fall into this pattern of comparison, our competition over amount of stress needs to stop. It wrecks everyone’s spirits and discourages us from empathizing with each other.
We owe our high school survival largely to one thing: mutual suffering. It is completely healthy to laugh about the ridiculously large expectations placed on us. But when we become hell-bent on “winning” other peoples’ sympathies with the craziest schedule, we destroy the support system that our friend groups normally create.

Additionally, many students have other factors outside of school that cause them stress. They may have to care for a younger sibling at home or work long hours to raise money for college. Mental health illnesses, like anxiety and depression, or physical sicknesses and injuries can also create stress in students’ lives, and they may not feel comfortable discussing these issues in such a public setting. Maybe a student simply needed a weekend to enjoy themselves and the company of their family and friends—they shouldn’t be ostracized for that.

Ultimately, comparing stress levels while arrogantly believing we have the most difficult lives accomplishes nothing. We need to understand that, as high school students, we are all overworked, and adding tension to our relationships will only harm us more. The next time a friend mentions their stress level, resist the urge to one-up them. Show them the same sympathy you would want to be shown after a long night of tedious, torturous work.