It is statistically proven that teen stress rivals that of adults. My, our generation is facing a new level of stress due to different factors, but what is almost more worrying than this fact is that most teenagers underestimate the stress and what it does to their physical and mental health.
Can I get a hand sign from everyone that told themselves before that pulling an all nighter is the only option and that coffee will solve the problems in the morning or that coming to school sick is better than having to catch up on the stuff you missed. I sure did those things before.
One of my favorite stories on this topic is the one on how my flight from Austin to Vienna got cancelled on a Sunday. Monday was the first day of school after winter break and I was going to miss it since my plane wouldn’t touch down until Tuesday 10 am. So that Tuesday after being up for 24 hours, crossing the ocean and having a layover in Frankfurt I made to Vienna. The cab we took from the airport, how else could it be, dropped me off at school and took my mom home. There I was just in time for fourth period in the same clothes I’ve been wearing for nearly 27 hours now. I told myself that sleep is for the weak and so I chugged some caffeinated beverage, got out of school and right into dance class. I was up 36 hours and had a seven hour time change behind me. At the end of the day I fell into my bed exhausted and unable to function. Little side note: putting my body through such extreme situations I caught the flu the following weekend and puked my soul out — but I was back in school on monday.
Moral of the story is that students ( and I am well aware it’s not all of them) push themselves to their limits and beyond because they are told it is all going to be worth it. That ivy league school you’ve been looking at for years will only take you if you go the extra mile, those parents of yours you so desperately want to make proud will pat you on the shoulder when hold that diploma in your hands.
We sacrifice our physical and mental health for the possibility of a bright and glorious future and if that wasn’t enough and disturbing enough, social media is giving us unrealistic ideas of what we should be, how we should look and what we should strive for. It’s almost that time of the year again where ‘early application’, ‘grade point average’ and ‘essays’ dominate our conversations and competition is taken to the next cruel level. We are taking the hardest classes in high-school and try to soak up as much knowledge as possible just to lie awake at night wondering wether or not we will make it. The word sleeping schedule is used as a joke and anxiety meds are more common in the fluorescent hallways schools than in a nut-house. I know that is rather pessimistic and that the drainage of our happiness is something we let happen and have control over, but do we really?
We are constantly on edge and in addition hormonal and trying to fit a social life into that busy schedule dominated by classes, SAT-prep, AP score, horn or societies and community service.
But what if it is worth it?
We should try to find a happy and healthy medium, this might be the only life we have and it would be a shame to waste it, so take a break every now and then. Do something you want to do not because you have to do it and get some sleep. We are young, we are the future and if we emaciate ourselves now we won’t be able to help this world and everyone in it.
until next time,
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