Lately, school has been very tough. I feel very anxious from all the piles and piles of homework due. I try to stay on top of it besides participating in extracurricular activities. It’s been so hard adapting to high school and all the new curriculum and schedules. My friends don’t think I’m fun anymore so they stay away from me. On top of that, it feels as if my stress is causing me to stray away from them. As we get closer to Summer break the motivation to do my work immensely precipitates. Not to mention the hair-pulling anxiety about finals! What should I do?
Currently (and barely passing) Restless Mess
Hi, Currently (and barely passing) Restless Mess,
From the get-go, I want to say I’m proud of you just for trying, despite all the hardships you’ve got going. That’s an admirable accomplishment. Just the fact that you want to get better and are reaching out is an awesome sign. A good first thing to do would be to self-analyze where all that stress and anxiety derives from!
The school-induced factors of it are something every high school student has experienced at least once, meaning reaching out is a big option. Find a good friend, teacher, or mentor, and figure out individual ways they could help you. You could ask them to assist you in specific classes, or just have them periodically check up on you. Alongside that, try talking to your friends to tell them how you’re feeling. Ask them to be patient and empathetic with you, let them know you’re trying but you’re struggling. Communication sure does go a long way. An option could be hanging out with them outside of school, putting all worries about assignments aside, and enjoying their company. Remember to be present in the moment.
High school is a huge adjustment and every high school sophomore, junior, and senior knows exactly what you’re going through! Classes are now divided into different levels and get harder. You’ve got a different schedule from elementary, clubs are introduced, more freedom is allowed, and suddenly everyone expects you to act more like a grown-up. It’s overwhelming!
It’s also good to look at the bright side of things, it won’t entirely get rid of your worries but it can help you focus on more positive things. It has the potential of getting you into a better mood or mentality, so it’s definitely worth a shot! For example, when you’re anxious you should ask yourself, is there anything I can do to make things better or is it out of my reach? Also, remember your worth is NOT dependent on your grades or productivity. The moment that God knit you together in the womb, you gained intrinsic value (Psalms 139:13).
Expanding more on the idea of productivity, sometimes the most productive thing to do is rest. Sounds like both of those things are opposites right? Think of it this way though, when you enter a deep state of burnout and exhaustion, you can’t keep working hard. You gave so much of yourself into all your projects and assignments that mentally and physically it’s almost impossible to grant any more of your abilities.
Also, one big part of high school is learning to manage your time. The biggest piece of advice any veteran upper schooler will tell you is, under NO circumstance, PROCRASTINATE! If you can manage not to do that, you’re already going to be off to a great start. Plus, your advisor (shoutout to Miss McFall!) has plenty of awesome tips and tricks and would be happy to share them with you. For sure recommend taking advantage of that, it will help.
After school, and after whatever extracurricular activity you may do, one thing that may help is breaking up your homework into chunks. Do a specific assignment for 20 minutes at a time, take a five-minute break, get back to work for 20 more minutes, then another five-minute break, and so on until all of your homework is done. It may take longer overall to finish but you may not feel as drained when you’re done. You could also listen to music, one that won’t tempt you to sing along and deliver a full-on concert to your household, to make it more enjoyable.
Long story short, you always need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself no matter how small the actions are. If you don’t take care of yourself, it is impossible to care for others or be your best self in your everyday life. If you’re still having issues balancing, talk to a parent, teacher, mentor, friend, tutor, pet 😉 or an older peer who has been where you are now. They survived and you will too, just like you have practically made it through one semester. Best of luck!