By Christina Vitakis
Hunched over a stack of textbooks during study hall, students at North Royalton scramble to frantically finish their homework before the bell rings. Too many things to get done and too little time. Extracurriculars, academics, part time jobs, social life, and physical and mental health are just a few of the matters students juggle. Although students at North Royalton High School have access to more activities and classes than they’ve ever had the privilege of encountering before, including the addition of anime club, speech and debate class, and a plethora of others, it can also be an added source of stress for many students.
Many students know this story all too well, including NRHS senior Emily Krejci, who is in several difficult AP classes, such as AP Statistics, AP Literature, AP Economics, and several honors courses as well, such as Honors Chemistry 2 and Honors Spanish 4. On top of this course load, she is also president of Drama Club, and a member of National Honor Society, International Thespian Society, debate team, and student council. And when the school day is done, she also manages to volunteer out of school.
Krejci said she generally gets stressed about her courses, “all day everyday. My leg never stops bouncing out of anxiousness and stress. I wake up every day unsure of how that day will go, if I did all my homework, worrying if I got enough sleep, or if I missed instructions on an assignment.”
Like Krejci, Sofia Rakic, a junior at NRHS, often feels stressed out about school and other activities as well. She has dance nearly every day of the week, is enrolled in AP Psychology, AP Government, Honors British Literature, Honors Chemistry II, maintains good grades, takes part in student council, National Honors Society for Art, and has a part-time job as well.
Rakic knows stress very well. With a large lack of sleep and a mountainous amount of homework, she recognizes stress as a large factor in her life. Although she deals with stress often, it can also become overwhelming to bear. Rakic stated, “Sometimes you get so stressed that you’re not stressed.”
However, AP students are not the only students that feel stress and pressure. Many students that selected not to take any or just one AP or honors courses still feel stressed. Joseph Karasek is enrolled in one honors course, but he still participates in Key Club and student council, has a part-time job, and maintains good grades. Karasek stated, “I feel stressed everyday. I get stressed about school, getting everything done, and everyday things like if I locked my car or not.”
There’s no specific type of student that is stressed. It’s a human characteristic. It’s inevitable to face stress at one point in a person’s life. However, how much stress is too much stress?
“The high standard we set is unhealthy and is perpetuated by ourselves as students,” Krejci stated. “The largest cause of stress is without a doubt the high expectations we as students set for ourselves. For myself, I am on track to finish this quarter with a 4.15 GPA and to me that is a failure.”
Many students agree that they themselves don’t know when to stop. Rakic stated, “I don’t know my own limits when it comes to school. I’ll do stuff and I’ll get frustrated when it’s not as good as I want it to be. I don’t have all the time to commit the energy I want into it.”
Krejci also recognized that she’s still navigating her limits. “I’m still learning my limits and currently trying to rework how I keep track of my assignments and my to-dos for the day so I can eliminate some stress,” she stated. “But it’s a matter of realizing what stress is worth it, what things are unworthy of worry and investing in the things that matter.”
Karasek, on the other hand, knows his own limits. He stated, “I think I know my own limits. It’s important for other people to know them as well because otherwise they might have a nervous breakdown.”
Limits of stress are not the same for everyone. Rakic stated, “I think limits are subjective. I mean some people can handle more than others.”
Teenagers have a lot of factors of stress in their lives. However, what is stressful for one might be easy to handle for another. Different people have varying levels of stress and each deal with it in their own way. However, stress is not inclusive, and every human will encounter it within their lifetime.
Although stress can be difficult to manage, having the support of both friends and family can help alleviate a bit of that stress and encourage self improvement. “My parents’ willingness to see that I won’t always get A’s has made me able to see that I can’t always be perfect either,” Krejci stated. “That realization makes you grow so much as a person and as a student.”
Christina Vitakis is a junior currently studying at North Royalton High School. She’s a member of yearbook club, student council, drama club, International Thespian Society, Key Club, and volunteers as publicity manager for the school’s plays. She also has a part-time job at Michael’s Arts and Craft Store. Despite maintaining (and whining about) a busy schedule, she spends her spare time hanging out with her friends and reading. She also has a soft spot for poetry, puns, and photography. She hopes to find a career in advertising after graduating college.