Stress At SLA: A User’s Guide

By DeShawn McLeod

Staff Writer

Although every high school student deals with stress, as with everything else at SLA, the situation here is unique. Here is an overview of the causes, symptoms, and solutions for stress at Science Leadership Academy.

The Causes

When asked what SLA stresses about, Senior Donna Survillo said, “Drama, then benchmarks, then home life.”

Unlike normal high school drama, SLA is a small community where news can travel fast. Having access to AIM at all times during the school day doesn’t help.

“It’s extremely odd and goes against the norm of high school drama,” Junior Manna-Symone Middlebrooks commented.

On the other hand, Senior Basheer Lewis explained, “I don’t know too much about the drama, but I’d have to say it’s kind of childish.”

No matter how one looks at it, drama takes time, effort, and emotions out of everyone.

When benchmark season comes around, SLA’s stress levels can fluctuate. Having a project based community, students are more pressured to devote time to large scale projects and papers.

“It depends on the project,” Junior Isabella Tognini said, ” and how much time I have to do it.”

Having a project due in five major classes isn’t easy, but SLA students do a well job of getting papers done and producing projects.

When asked about his stress levels during benchmark season, Senior Joshua Martin-Corrales commented, “[It’s] low, the way I see it, I’ve been taking benchmarks for four years, so it’s not any worse than when it started. I’ve taken more than 100 benchmarks.”

With everyone having a laptop in the school, there are a plethora of distractions that a student can encounter. From social networking to video games, all can create procrastination habits that can reflect on a student’s grades. This can amplify stress.

In contrast, MiddleBrooks said, “My stress level is through the roof and yet manageable.”

As for one’s home life, it sometimes can’t be manageable.

“The are other stressors that you can’t avoid, say if you lose your parents as a teen, it’s a life long tragedy,” School Nurse Onnie Kelly explained.

“There’s also the loss of parents through divorce or separation, that’s a life long pain. Now, the stressors of society and crime, those are all things that students have no control over.”

The Symptoms

Having stressors from different aspects, may it be drama, school work, or one’s domestic life, people have different ways of reacting to it.

The effects of stress can be immediate and physical. MiddleBrooks said that, when she gets stressed, ” I get headaches, I’m hyperactive, and I can’t think clearly.”

Depending on the situation and it’s circumstances, everyone’s different in how they try to control their stress.

Kelly thinks that different genders have different ways of dealing with stress.

“Some of it is an example of their family, so if you’re from a erratic family, you can adapt that type of behavior,” she explained. “Some families bottle up their feelings and those families suffer from high blood pressure.”

“People deal with stress differently and often it’s a social example of their family and friends that teach them how to deal with stress.”

The Solutions

As students go on with the stress in their lives, here’s some ways to cope or relieve it. Just as there are many ways for distractions that can cause stress, there are also various ways to deal with it.

“SLA is a great place to experience and learn, but if students perceive school work as stress, then they need to revaluate what stress is,” School Nurse Onnie Kelly explained, “School is an everyday occurrence, you’re always going to have deadlines and demands made of you, the only way to relieve that stress, is to rise and get it done.”

Work wise, Math Teacher Erin Garvey suggests, “If they’re stressing out about procrastination, they need to get their work down when it’s assigned.”

Personal wise, Math Teacher Caitlin Thompson suggests, “Yoga, physical activity, productive and purposeful use of free time. For example students could allow themselves an hour to hang out with friends, watch TV, or do good for others.”

Martin-Corrales has a similar approach to coping with stress. “Whenever I do get stressed I breathe, do yoga, and then I relax.”

Senior Rashaun Williams suggests that students can relax “by finding their hobbies that make them independently happy.”

Sports, extra curricular activities, friend and family time, and self improvement are all healthy ways of coping with stress.

Stress tied to people can also be difficult. If the circumstances are possible, step away from those who can cause dramatic stress in life. It’s good to associate with people who are up lifting to one’s self image and others.

Having close friend circles can also help with stress. If one continues spread their business across a wide range of people, that’s how it can be spread to the whole community without the originator even knowing.

It’s good to concentrate on productive things instead of problems that can hinder one’s output in their academic, social, and home life.

It’s important to remember that stress can also have a good side.

“To a certain extent it’s a good motivator, it keeps a fire under people,” said Math Teacher Brad Latimer.

“It there was no stress, people wouldn’t be productive.”

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