By Halie Wingo
Approximately 20 percent of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder and 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14. Within WCHS these statistics could be relevant for students’ health when dealing with stress and anxiety throughout the school year. WCHS students like junior Lucy Mendoza face this throughout the school year with competitive dance and her AP homework. Mendoza has a lot of homework and not much time to do it. Her relationships with her family and friends have to be put on hold sometimes due to the amount of work she has throughout the week and sometimes on weekends.
“I usually spend most of my time at dance and then the second most doing my homework. I don’t usually spend much time with my family or friends and don’t really have very close relationships with my family,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza also deals with stress by making sure she can focus and calm down before getting too worked up about one thing and focus on the future.
“I deal with stress by talking myself through each situation and focusing just on the future instead of the current situation.”
WCHS radio and television teacher Jeff Clawson has seen the struggles of grades and stress. He believes it is good to develop good study habits so that students’ mental health stays strong.
“Everybody learns in different ways; everybody demonstrates understanding in different ways. While it seems like a cop-out, I think that there’s research-based science that would support the claim that however you best learn is how you should condition yourself to study,” Clawson said. “If you need to deconstruct and reconstruct to make flashcards, then that’s your study method. If you’re someone who just kind of does memorization, then that’s your method. If you’re someone who’s more hands on, then you want to find a way to transpose what you’re doing into a bodily kinesthetic context. Whatever your learning style is the best way to study for something.”
WCHS counselor Laura Ehringer also believes studying habits are useful and needed for good grades and academic health. Many students do not have good study habits and this makes for a stressful school career.
“The best way a student studies for a test is making sure it doesn’t start right before a test. It is where students go to class, pay attention, take notes, do study guides, assign themselves or have their teachers assign them to period four and start ahead. Many times students start the day of or the day before and they cram and that is not the best way to learn the material or to do well on a test. All that does is lead to stress, anxiety, test anxiety and that’s never good,” Ehringer said.
Many students’ health is affected by stress and anxiety, but can be helped by good study habits and working hard. Clawson believes students should be giving themselves breaks and making sure to budget their time well enough so that they do mot overwork themselves.
“If you can accept the idea that you’re not going to be able to get everything done, but also condition yourself to manage as many tasks as you can, homework, sports, etcetera, you are going to be conditioned to deal with the stresses and realities of post high school life whether that’s straight into the workforce or it’s college experience, that’s going to help your process,” Clawson said. “I would also add that it is important for one’s mental health, I think, not only should you be making time to prioritize, but you also need to prioritize a break from all of that. Down time, sleep, taking a ‘brain break,’ that is crucial because that’s going to allow you to have the balance that your mental health needs.”
Making sure mental health is healthy is important as a student and many people overlook that. Budgeting time and being prepared is important for all students’ mental health and academic well-being and will ensure that students will be well-prepared and as stress-free as possible for the school year.