The stress of senior year is inevitable: Here are ways to manage

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The last year of high school is anticipated by many students for its senior-exclusive activities. From Senior Day to Prom, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to let loose and relax with friends. However, these fun-filled activities come at a cost beyond the ticket prices: the amount of stressful situations many seniors must endure.

The moment the school year starts, we have college applications to worry about. College applications are a well-known source of such stress. We need to begin thinking critically about what we hope to do in the future and where we wish to study. Parents and relatives also pester us about which colleges we should apply to and what major we should choose. Add that on top of actually writing the college essay and we have a recipe for stress. Countless drafts will be written and an unimaginable number of edits will be made until the day comes to finally submit our ticket to the future.

That is not all. Since it is the final year of high school, this is the last chance for many of us to improve our grades, take the ACT or SAT, and build our resume. Taking Advanced Placement classes or SAT prep, doing homework, volunteering, and participating in extracurriculars are an added source of stress for seniors. Sleep is occasionally sacrificed in order to keep up with an overwhelming workload.

It is no surprise that, according to the American Psychological Association, the average teen has about the same stress level as a working adult.

To survive this stress-inducing abyss of work, start by taking time to do things you enjoy. Even five minutes of working on a hobby or engaging in an interesting activity will help. I have begun to set aside time in order to read a chapter a day of a book since that helps me relieve stress. It clears my mind and leaves me at ease. Exercising with a friend might also help as it reduces the body’s stress hormones and allows for deeper sleep. For a calmer environment, light some candles and diffuse some essential oils such as lavender, lemon, or peppermint.

Communication is also an effective way to relieve stress. Talking out your problems and seeking an outside solution may help alleviate the amount of stress you carry. Friends and family might be able to give you advice on time management or simply give you space to work quietly and compile you thoughts.

If you are not one to communicate face to face, keep a diary. Writing out all of your problems can help lighten the stress on your mind when managing so many assignments.

It is important to know that you do not have to deal with this alone and keep everything bottled up. Friends, family, and teachers are here to help with any issues that are causing stress or a feeling of being overwhelmed.

Everything we are doing that leads to stress has a purpose. Once we achieve that, life will begin to calm down a little. Some stress may be caused by the feeling that all this work being done is pointless. The source of our stress it is meaningful. Know this: there is a purpose for all of this and it will lead to a brighter future, with potential happiness and freedom.

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