Seton, as any high school, is full of students who simply want to get good grades, get into a good college, and have the most fun high school experience possible. But often, students become so stressed that they lose faith in their ability to fulfill these wishes and therefore lose faith in themselves and even in their education.
This is a friendly reminder that it is possible and even believable that a hardworking student, who just wants to have a good time while getting the good grade, can, in fact, stay positive throughout the year if she just steps back and takes a deep breath. Being able to keep a positive mindset while remaining calm and accomplishing what needs to be done is difficult at times, but it is absolutely possible.
First, she must pinpoint what is making her stressed, and why it’s making her feel that way. Let’s take a look at that whole mess of a storm cloud hanging over all four years of high school- good grades plus college. Bella Mazza, treasurer of Seton’s positivity-promoting club StrongHer, says that this is the central source of stress because many students have an “immense pressure placed on us to be successful and reach high standards. We are pressured to take rigorous courses, get high grades, be involved in everything we can, play sports, and have a social life.” All of these combined make it difficult to give 100% to everything, so students often have a hard time trying to devote as much time and effort as they feel adequate to each priority. Lilly Witte, StrongHer’s president, explains, “It’s easy to look at everything that is happening and needs to get done as a big, dark cloud that is never going to go away. This all has to do with mindset. But I think this has more to do with the anxiety and negativity associated with everything than how it actually is.”
That’s why it’s important to get into the right mindset. Getting organized, taking little breaks, focusing on the big picture, and simply taking deep breaths are ways to start.
Mady Nutter, PR and Marketing representative of StrongHer, states that “sometimes students struggle to stay organized when they get busy, and that is actually the most critical time to force yourself to stay organized.” Staying organized in your daily and long-term tasks—whether you’re an obsessive write-down-everything in a planner type of person or not—is a big part of keeping a positive mind. Being able to see everything in front of you rather than having it in a hurricane of to-do’s swirling in your mind will not only gain you a little more sanity but will also make you realize that your hectic schedule isn’t as hectic as it seems. “Take one day at a time. If you take each day at a time it will make things easier and the stress will be less,” says Ellie Gardner, Event Coordinator of StrongHer. “God never gives you more than you can handle. If you have faith that everything will work out, it will,” Bella adds.
Sometimes the best thing to do to de-stress and drain out the negativity is simply taking a step away from everything you need to do, just for a little while so that you are able to recharge before you continue working. Lilly suggests “finding something that allows you to put all of your negative energy into it and turn it into something positive. Whether it be journaling, playing sports, reading, singing, or art, finding something you love to do can be your little paradise from the stress of school.” Even taking a break to watch some lighthearted YouTube videos or an episode of a sitcom (“Friends” is always a great choice) can ease stress and make what you have to do not seem so horrible. “I find it helpful to break up my time with listening to music or treating myself to some kind of reward for getting my work done,” Mady says of her own way of taking breaks. “A nap, snack, getting on my phone, whatever can distract my mind for a few minutes and give me a break.”
It’s also very important to remember that health often equals a happy and calm mindset. Although it might seem like the least of your problems, good sleep, eating nutritiously, and a bit of exercise can not only make you feel good but also make you more motivated and energized to get work done. “Always make time for sleep. Yeah, naps rock, but actually getting sleep at night really rocks too. I really wish I prioritized it more. Sleep is so important,” Mady stresses. Even if you have a lot to get done, make a little time for yourself to get some sleep, eat a healthy meal, or even take a brisk walk. Any of these will revitalize a positive outlook in yourself, refreshing your mind and body and ultimately helping you get things accomplished.
If you feel like you can’t do it all alone, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It means you can do it with the help of others. Advises Robyn Schwarz, school counselor and house advisor to Segale, “Ask [your] Advisor or [your] parent for some time to sit down and talk about what is stressing them. Sometimes it helps just to be listened to. Getting one-on-one help from a tutor or teacher” is one way to achieve your goals in school. Simply asking for help, whether it’s a teacher helping you understand your homework or a counselor or parent helping you manage your time or finding a friend to listen, is one of the best ways to de-stress and have a more positive outlook on school. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Your parents and the faculty and staff at Seton are here to assist you. While we want you to become independent, we are always here to assist you, or to listen to you. Have faith in yourself.”
(Thanks to the StrongHer board members, specifically Ellie Gardner, Bella Mazza, Mady Nutter, and Lilly Witte, and Mrs. Robyn Schwarz for taking the time to answer some questions in regards to this article).