Skipping Lunch Because Too Stressed a Big Latin No-No

Noa Rosenberg Latin Juniors are too stressed to go to the Stress Management Group. What reads like a bad joke is, in fact, a real thing announced by Ms. Lawrence in a recent assembly. She recounted that students had been approaching her saying that, while they would love to attend the new program, they could not as they have too much work and need their lunch periods (when meetings would be held) to get it done. The group, conceived by Ms. Stevens and Ms. Lawrence, aims to help students tackle stress as they navigate their Junior year. “I think stress management sounds like a catch-all phrase, but you need to know what works for you and what doesn’t because we’re all different,” Ms. Lawrence stated. She explained that different strategies work for different people and that this takes some time to figure out. “Part of the group will be identifying different tools,” she added. Examples of these could be writing, physical activity, or mindfulness, a tactic focusing on living in the moment, the practice of which would be a focal point for participants– that is, if they can make it. But they can’t. They are too stressed to learn how to manage their stress. This chicken and egg situation cannot be beneficial to the school as a whole, and certainly not to the students on an individual level. With a school-wide push for wellness, programs like this have popped up along with no homework weekends, attempts at new styles of grading, and other edits to reduce strain on students, but none of these seem to go as planned (at least not right off the bat) as there is somewhat of an expectation to be stressed throughout the student body. In fact, stress often seems as much of a part of Latin’s culture as orange and blue and perhaps even more than the boathouse jackets. The belief that you “should be stressed” runs deep, prompting some students to even create strain on themselves when the need is not there. This is true especially of Junior year. By the time they reach it, rising Juniors are all too familiar with the horror stories of late nights, tears, and general misery when, in the end, it is just another year at a difficult and high-stress school. Maybe much of the extra stress is man-made; a hand-me-down that has been passed down for so long that it is never questioned. But is there any way to stop this stress cycle? School-related anxiety is inevitable and it is real, so if you find yourself unable to make it to the Stress Management Group, Ms. Lawrence recommends, “[giving] yourself the space to discover what tools you’re going to use when you’re stressed. Not when you’re at a ‘ten’ because I think people sometimes don’t realize that they’re stressed until they’re at a ‘ten’ or ‘11’…what I would want for the group is to create a toolbox for them to use when they’re at a ‘four’ or a ‘five’.” In addition, another strategy would be reaching out to either Ms. Stevens or Ms. Lawrence for some extra help. No matter what, keep breathing. Take time for yourselves. It’s barely even fall.]]>