High School. The four years of making long-lasting friendships, molding your own identity, leaving the tightly knit cocoon, and sprouting into a polychromatic butterfly ready to conquer the big, bright world. While this holds some truth, high school isn’t always what it seems, as portrayed by overdramatized Netflix shows.
Where the scripts are obviously written by older people who try very hard to inject their supposed understanding of Gen Z teens. Whether being overly caffeinated because of finally submitting your research paper on Turnitin at 2 am in the morning, procrastinating by scrolling through memes to numb the thought of fulfilling endless deadlines, or cramming for that midterm while half asleep, stress in high school is inevitable. But it is not just generic stress. Each grade level endures very different traumatic and stress-inducing experiences. Hopefully, all of you burnt-out high schoolers out there, regardless of what you prioritize in life, can find this article relatable and consoling as I lay out the unnerving stress each grade level encounters on their metamorphic journey.
Freshman year. Freshmen are like puny lambs in the slaughterhouse. It is a petrifying experience. After all, you are faced with a new vast sea of underclassmen who are all trying to figure things out. It is a rude awakening from the spoon-fed work you did in middle school. Memorizing the Krebs cycle by heart and acquainting yourself with the nomadic Huns from the movie Mulan, can become, as time ages, stressful. But your newfound friends, extracurriculars, and the growing independence you acquire helps combat those panicky moments on the brink of uncertainty.
Sophomore year. A year of infinite, painful headaches trying to fully grasp the alien notion of theorems and proofs. To this day, I still contemplate why Geometry is so ridiculously draining and how these complex rules are beneficially applied to my everyday mundane life. Unless you are a God-given mathematical genius, you will witness the fantastic spectacle of your Geometry grade slowly dropping into the depths of hellfire. By mid-year getting mostly seventies and eighties and an occasional ninety will become the norm of Geometry. Therefore, if you are a current sophomore I highly recommend not carelessly rely on self-deprecating humor to combat your failing Geometry grade, as Geometry will literally eat you alive mentally.
Junior year. Oh, Chemistry. While I did take Chemistry a year prior, I sympathize with the Junior class. On the first day of Chemistry, I sat down enthusiastic, determined to be the exemplary hard-working Chemistry student. Once I neatly wrote down the first notes from the slide, I knew that this was the end. But then College Board came around. Unless you love spontaneous stress, panic attacks, and all-nighters, all I have to say is, please do yourself a favor and actually put effort into studying for the SATs and AP exams. I know in a few years these tests formulated by a bureaucratic and money-hungry organization won’t matter, but it, unfortunately, matters when applying to colleges who also want stacks of your money.
Senior year. It is when you introspectively reenter the main building and remember why you hate school so much. On the first day, you instantly are hit with symptoms of senioritis, making the college process even more tedious than it already is. Whether trying to find a mind-blowing and quirky idea for your common app essay or filling out the FAFSA form, you become rather quickly burdened with a suffocating amount of deadlines and requirements in order to just press send. But don’t fret, hopefully, it will all work out in the end, if you are a legacy or could pay 500,000 dollars to facilitate a very honest admission of course.
These four years of high school while at points can feel like a precious waste of your fleeting time on earth, can also feel like a great “learning” experience. Now that I look past the many obstacles I have bitterly vanquished as a Senior, I realize that the stress I have endured has only just amplified my grudge for an outdated school system, where intelligence and creativity are universally measured through standardized tests and the grade imprinted on your report card.
The Stress of Every Grade Level
Writer: Marina Siskos