Dealing with back-to-school stress


Graphic by Julianne Cruz

The increased stress of back-to-school has taken a toll on students.

Adam Yachin, Opinions Writer

The increased stress caused by coming back to school after summer is almost a guaranteed issue for all students. Summer can make students forget about the difficult school year on the horizon, but before they know it, the school year takes them by surprise, and with that, their blissful lives too. While all students have a new amount of stress coming now that the school year started, many don’t know how to manage it. If students know how to take care of the intense amount of new work, their mental health and quality of life during the school year would be a lot better. 

For some, the level of mental strain depends on the year; freshman year cannot compare to the stress of Junior and Senior year. Someone who believes that the 2022-23 school year is more difficult than others is senior Oree Yachin, who said, “This school year is definitely more stressful because I have to juggle college applications and I’ve been having to make up a lot of work since it took a while for me to be switched into my classes.” Though college applications are a challenge other grades do not face yet, everyone faces a drastic increase  in workload, which is hard for everyone to adapt to smoothly. 

For others, coming into this school year is less stressful than the last one. Sophomore Ethan Ewers said, “Coming from COVID was a lot more stressful than…coming back this year just from summer…Being a freshman was a lot more of a new experience than a sophomore.” 

AP Art History and art teacher Michael McDermott noticed a change in the behavior of students between this year and last year. Mr. McDermott said, “In reaction to the pandemic, I think [work being turned in] it’s getting better, absolutely…I think it’s a major jump from when we were virtual when there was a terrible apathy, and then last year, and I think now we’re on an upward trajectory.” It is clear that students are readjusting to in person learning and greatly benefiting from face to face instruction.

Though levels of student stress vary for each individual, it is undoubtedly persistent within most students, with many having a hard time dealing with the workload of new classes. With that in mind, there are various helpful strategies for how to focus more on schoolwork and get it out of the way. Mr. McDermott believes having a balance in daily life is a strong method for lowering stress levels in general. He said, “Do your best and […] the idea of balancing work and play is important. […] That might mean a little less technology too. To get away from that a little bit, and physically be more of an […] athlete or focus on a hobby […], I feel like that’ll contribute to your mental health.” Mr. McDermott’s advice can be very helpful for students who are overwhelmed with schoolwork and constantly feel like they’re working. 

In terms of how to efficiently get work done, Yachin looked at it from a perspective of prioritizing. He said,  “Choose assignments that you need to do and understand that some assignments aren’t going to get done, and that’s okay. […] You got to play the game. If you have an assignment that’s worth two points and would take two hours to do, don’t do it and focus on your big project instead.” This is helpful if there is simply an undoable amount of homework, and can help students relax a little, even if it means a slight drop in their grade. Yachin’s point emphasizes the notion that grades aren’t everything, pushing the narrative that students should not subject themselves to insane levels of stress for a letter on a sheet of paper. 

Along with this, teachers can help too. By lowering the workload occasionally, students can strongly benefit and feel less anxiety over schoolwork. Rocket refresh provides a perfect opportunity for exactly this; more periods for finishing work and projects are extremely helpful in minimizing the amount of stressful out of school work students are forced to do.

Everyone can have a different way to organize and balance their daily lives, but the most important part is to not feel like school is completely taking over your life. That is when it is best to step back and prioritize. Through the different tips and types of advice given, hopefully students can start to feel a little better about the school year and start to adapt more easily to the habit of homework and a daily schedule in order to facilitate their academic success.