For all that talk of school being the “best time in your life”, one of the most difficult results of school is simple school stress. Of course, school stress is not only brought on by classes, homework, papers to write, problems to solve, and the persistent need to keep up with reading. It is also brought on by the often taxing work of keeping up with friends, keeping up with life, keeping the parents happy, and rather onerous task of simply being young and trying to figure out what the heck you are going to do with the next, oh, 40 to 50 years of your life. Thus, it may very well be the best time in your life, but it is also one of the worst.
The biggest source of school stress if, of course, school itself. The constant press of classes and schoolwork never seems to be relieved and trying to keep pace with everything that is happening is nothing short of a Herculean task. Teachers are constantly loading you with piles of work that often seems to be mere busywork and all of it needs to be done yesterday. On top of that, you need to switch gears between any one of a number of different subjects, running the gamut from mathematics to literature to chemistry to history. And you need to be able to do it as rapidly as a Formula 1 driver navigating a series of S-curves. To call it taxing is not quite accurate. I think a better word would be extortionate.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem with school stress is that there is no way around all this work. It has to be done whether you like it or not, so at some point you need to actually sit down and do it. That is the bad news. The good news is that others have done it before you and it can be turned into a manageable duty.
Much as you are probably tired of hearing about it, the key to all of this is to prioritize your tasks. Figure out what needs to be done first, what needs to be done second, then third and so on. If you need to make a list of everything that needs doing so that you can then rate the priority, by all means do so. It is actually fairly therapeutic to make a list and it will help to reduce your school stress simply by putting everything in order. Then, when you finish a task, you can cross it off.
Once you have your prioritized list of tasks, it is time to get things done. While you are doing your work, do not think about your other tasks. Just keep your mind on what you are doing at the time. If it is physics equations, just do the equations and don’t ponder anything else. Keep focused and get through until the work is completed. Then, cross it off your list and move on to the next task.
Also, while you are attempting to concentrate on your work, remember to take a break every so often. Lean back and stretch your shoulders and neck every 15 minutes or so. About every hour, stand up and take a quick walk around the room. Just take your mind off of your work for a few minutes, then go back to it. This will give your already addled brain a rest, allowing you to get back into the swing full speed.
When studying, remember to study where you study best. Don’t read in bed if you are only going to fall asleep. Don’t sit at a desk where you don’t have space to spread out all the science books you need. Don’t sit in a chair that is so uncomfortable that you think more about the fact your rear end hurts than the work that is in front of you. Find a place where you can focus and stay focused until you are done. That way, your work will get done and you will have the altogether wonderful relief from school stress that only comes with having nothing more you need to do for school that evening.
However, this does not mean that you need to avoid all forms of entertainment while you are working. In fact, you can take a break for television or for computer games. Of course, this is only if you have the willpower to walk away from it after a set period of time (let’s say an hour) and return to your schoolwork. Though the relaxation breaks are nice, taking too many of them will just give you more school stress because you will suddenly realize that it is midnight and you haven’t gotten a thing done. If you need to avoid the television until after your work is done, then do it. You know yourself best, so do what works. And only if it actually gets work done.
As for the other concerns of life, well, it’s hard to tell you what you need to do. Just keep your schoolwork in front of you and try to make time for other pursuits. After all, there is more to school that just lessons, exams and homework and seeing friends is a great way to keep school stress at bay.
Even if classes are getting you down, school stress does not need to take over your life. If you learn to manage stress now, you will be able to manage stress much better throughout your life. Even if you get nothing else out of school, one of the most important lessons you can learn from school is how to handle stress. After all, school stress is still stress all the same.