Student stress: how teachers say you can combat it


Steven Pappas

Students are back in the thick of the school year and, with that, will come some complicated stress from academics, tests and extracurricular activities.

It’s the beginning of the school year and, with it, the grind begins. Classes are in full swing and, with them, comes the half-year surplus of exams, homework, and quizzes.

Students will start to feel overwhelmed and anxious about classes, and with that comes stress. So, it has become important to be able to handle and overcome that gargantuan roadblock.
Stress has been a prominent negative in a student’s educational career. A study done at New York University (NYU), aimed to test how students feel about stress and its factors. Two prestigious secondary schools were tested and 49 percent of students felt stress to be an overwhelming factor. They also found that 48 percent reported three or more hours of homework each night.
The most overwhelming factors for stress, according to the students, were grades, homework, and preparing for college.
“To me, studying is never the night before or even two nights before,” said Julie Baker, a Chemistry Honors teacher.“It’s, like I say, making sure you’re doing what’s assigned and then making sure to ask questions when they come up throughout the unit.”
Breaking down studying into reasonable chunks is important for studying, according to Chris Freiler, an AP European History teacher. For instance, some students find it easy to get distracted when they’re studying, so being diligent and studious during your study process can be difficult. But, as Freiler suggests, it’s very important to time manage to feel more prepared for an exam or a big project.
As Freiler suggests, a focused and organized mindset in studying will lead to vastly better results than if it were the other way around. This especially becomes more important depending on the classes taken. Traditionally, the more difficult the class, the heavier the workload is. So, it becomes especially important to be organized when studying for tests in those classes.
“Yes, I do (notice I do better on tests when I’m more organized) because then my thought process is also more organized,” said Adhitya Suppiah, sophomore taking all honors classes.“Also, it is easier to focus on what you need
to know and assess what you need to focus on.”
Even if some students put effort into all of their studying, they could face questions on tests that they don’t know how to answer. From that, as Baker suggests, you have to be able to problem solve. Think about the direction you want to go in and do your best to get there. Use the knowledge you know you’ve learned in the class to try and lead your way to an answer.
“What I say is try looking at all the steps you’re doing. Explain every step that you did,” Baker said. “As soon as you run across the issue, when you say I know I need to do it but I don’t know why, then I know they have initially identified their first misunderstanding.”
Baker, for instance, said she hopes that her Chemistry Honors students become better problem solvers by the end of the year. She said she wants them to use “Habits of Mind” she shows her students in order to instill in them the confidence that they have the knowledge to solve the problem, even if they don’t know the direction they need to take.