Coping with and crushing mid-year stress

Max Minogue, Opinion Editor

High school is stressful.
If you’re a senior, you’re currently drowning in college everything: the uncertainty, the applications, and dealing with every single person in the world feeling obliged to know the intimate details of where you want to go.
If you’re a junior, you’ve already realized the sharp difference in work levels between underclassmen and upperclassmen, not to mention constantly hearing that junior year is the most important year for colleges.
If you’re a sophomore, you’re in a new campus and everything feels official; congratulations, you’re in high school, but odds are you still don’t feel settled in.
Freshman year? If it’s going anything like it did for me, it’s just a total mess.
But let’s focus! Mental health, at least according to health class, is important. By now, I’ve mastered my routine for those nights where just thinking about what I have to do makes me want to cry.
The first step for me is mental preparation. If you’re a stronger soul than I, you can skip this step, but it’s a personal necessity and prevents later breakdowns. After 8 hours of school and god-knows how many hours of extra-curriculars, I always needed it.
Go ahead and have a therapeutic snapchat response session to save those streaks. Watch a single episode of “Gossip Girl” or “The Office.” You’ve already completed half a day, you’ve earned it!
Next up, begin. Pull yourself together. Get off of the bed or the couch; crank out the easier stuff. You should always be keeping that Trevian tracker filled with a list for the day, and the satisfaction of crossing out that Spanish worksheet is great.
By now, an hour or so in, when presented with fight or flight, you’ve chosen fight. Spanish and math have been conquered. Take a productive break.
For me, this means getting settled in for the next grind. Brew your favorite dose of caffeine (Harney & Son’s tea is my personal favorite). Treat yourself to a bagel or a quesadilla or some microwaved leftovers.
Get a Spotify playlist set up, or get an album ready to go. Personally, I prefer some Lana del Rey or Sufjan Stevens if lyrics won’t get in the way, and Yann Tiersen if classical is needed for that extra focus.
Get those scented candles burning.
Fifteen minutes later, start anew. This is the time to study or take notes. Never, ever save studying for the last if there’s other assignments to do.
Every time I’ve ever attempted to study after cranking out every other assignment, I convince myself to bring the textbook into bed with me and fall asleep face down in the pages.
Waking up with the details of the War of 1812 on your face is never a good start to the day.
So you’ve gotten this far, and all there is left to do is English, that dreaded paper that you’ve been putting off for weeks, but those past two weeks were so busy already, and there was just no time!
So, start. For me, this is always the best time to write an assignment, once it’s the time that looking at the clock is just painful. Knowing that sleep is so close should be motivation to focus and put away the procrastination snapchats.
Most importantly, set a hard deadline for when to throw in the towel; for me, that’s 2:00 am, but it’d probably be healthier to call it quits earlier. Either way, don’t let an assignment take over your life. Sleep is good, prioritize it. You can figure it out the next day in a free period, advisory, or lunch. Reaching that hard deadline is proof that you’ve worked for half a dozen or more hours consecutively, and that anything else was out of your power.
Never let the feeling of being overwhelmed dominate. That’s why I take a to-do list so seriously; it breaks the toughest night down into chunks.
Lastly, accept that high school sucks at times. The stress is real, and sure, changes could be made and a lot of work might be busy work, but people survive and graduate.
To everyone’s astonishment, every grade level even survived last year’s construction schedule. If looking forward, you think that your schedule truly isn’t survivable, maybe consider cutting yourself some slack and dropping a club or moving down a level.
Now treat yourself to a huff of scented candle, gulp a shot of espresso, swaddle yourself in your baby blanket, and go.