Students face fatigue having busy schedules

By Taylor Rinehart, Staff Writer — It is 6 a.m. and senior Katie Allensworth slides out of bed groggy and eyelids heavy. As she reaches to turn off her alarm, her head is pounding. Katie had been up since 1 a.m. the night before, trying to complete all of her homework due the next day. As Katie gets to school, she can not help but to close her eyelids for a couple of seconds. With extracurricular activities, such as Key Club President and Student Council Member, on top of her many college level classes, Katie is stressed.

Like many other students, Allensworth has to find time to balance homework and activities.

“If I have homework throughout the week, I try and work in time even if it means that I am up late,” Allensworth said. “For me, most of my classes are college level, so it takes up a lot of my time.”

Common symptoms of stress are low energy, headaches and insomnia. According to a study by The Sleep Foundation, teens should be getting at least eight hours of sleep a night. Irregular sleep patterns can affect an internal biological clock. According to the same study, inadequate sleep can limit a person’s ability to learn and concentrate, as well as cause forgetfulness.

“Grades are important but each student should set boundaries and take care of themselves first,” guidance counselor Kristi Blankenship said.

As college and the future approaches, many seniors try to balance academics, extracurriculars and a social life.

“I have more activities and different types of classes this year that take up a majority of my time, but graduation and the future, in general, are constant factors in my daily stress levels,” Allensworth said.

As students try to balance their lives, compromises have to be made.

“Everyone can manage their activities, but they have to know how much they can handle,” Blankenship said.

Allensworth manages her workload in a way that best suits her schedule.

“I usually try and triage my workload during the week. I do most of my homework on the weekends because I have all my activities after school during the week,” Allensworth said.

During the second semester, students’ stress levels can rise. A common stereotype is that second semester of senior year does not count toward a student’s rank.

“Second semester counts. Colleges receive the student’s final transcript,” Blankenship said. “A student’s rank can change, but will not change significantly. A student will still be recognized for their rank for academic awards, but that does not mean a student can not improve their rank.”

Students often struggle with college planning with academics.

“The biggest struggle is finding the time to do scholarship essays and plan for next year on top of all my activities and homework,” Allensworth said. Graduate, Megan Bodenschatz, shares advice for students struggling with the added stress of college planning.

“Keeping myself organized is what really helped me handle the stress of college planning. I kept a folder for each college, scholarship or loan I applied to and made spreadsheet after spreadsheet to compare the financials of each college,” Bodenschatz said.

A student’s judgement of what is important for their upcoming years can be clouded by stress and causing them to lose their focus. Although some students can feel weighed down by the added stress, it does not mean it can not be handled. Balance and organization can help ease the stress of a crowded schedule.

“You get a lot of different papers, packets, brochures, etc. when preparing for college and it is really easy to just throw them into a pile. Also, using a planner or calendar to keep track of both college related deadlines and school assignments allows you to visualize and prioritize your workload. If you take an extra minute to organize yourself, you will alleviate some of the stress associated with balancing school and college planning,” Bodenschatz said.

At the end of the day, students have to decide what is important and what will be beneficial to themselves.

“Current grades and attendance are very important. Students should not get discouraged second semester and drop their challenging classes. Colleges look for well-rounded students with a rigorous or more challenging course load, as well as students balancing jobs, community service and other extracurriculars,” Blankenship said.

Stress is common in teenagers, but its harmful effects should be taken seriously. Balance is the key to reducing stress.

[Updated Aug. 10, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]