As this new school year begins, students are still getting used to new schedules, teachers and classes which can be stressful; especially after coming back from an entire virtual year. Counselors are a great resource at St. John’s to help manage your stress whether it be socially, academically or for help on the college application process. To help with some of this stress, the school counselors were able to provide some advice during this challenging time. Whatever you may be dealing with, know that they are here to support you through it and that you are never alone.
While finding ways to manage stress is personal, Mrs. Mitchell, the junior counselor at St. John’s said: “During this time of the pandemic, it is best to do whatever makes you happy and distracts you from the stress you are currently dealing with. Always remember that you are never alone in this and that there is always someone that is right by your side to talk to. Try to get outside and get some physical activity so that you can release negative energy and stress built up in your body”.
Another stressful part of school is starting to think about college and what you are specifically interested in. When asked what she believes best assists specifically junior students in this difficult process, Mitchell said: “Always remember that you have worked hard freshman and sophomore year to set yourself up to be successful. More than anything, a lot of the process is patience, confidence, and starting to think about what you want from life. Don’t let other people’s opinions interfere with what you are passionate about.”
It’s not just the upperclassmen who are dealing with stress. Ms. McIntosh-Peters said all students need to learn how to manage what they have to deal with right now. “Students should focus on what they can control in the moment, when you think down the line, you can become very overwhelmed. Remember that the best thing to do right now is to focus on what you can control; not what is in the future”.
One way that students can deal with stress is through coping skills. McIntosh Peters said “my favorite coping skill which I recommend and even use myself is to listen to music. Music to me is a universal language and there are so many genres to choose from! I find that it is very calming to turn off the lights and my phone in my room, take some time to relax and then come back to whatever you were working on. Another great way to get involved especially for new students is to join social events and clubs that can get you involved in the community! There are so many ways to do this whether it be joining a new sport, starting a new club, or even sitting with someone new at lunch!”
In addition to the advice from the counselors, many students have come up with their own coping strategies for managing stress. Eva Doomes, a junior at St. John’s has also shared her opinion on the management of stress. As the captain of the varsity tennis team and a scholar she has her own unique advice to provide. A technique that she uses and recommends to others is prioritizing. She believes that students should prioritize finding time for themselves by planning days where they focus on their work and other days where they can focus on themselves and their own interests. Eva utilizes this technique on days when her tennis practice is cancelled. She finishes all of her homework in school so that when she gets home she can spend time on herself. When Eva finds herself to be stressed out, her favorite coping mechanism is learning something new. She has been studying German, and when she gets super stressed about school, she takes twenty to thirty minutes to learn new vocabulary. She recommends this strategy because it allows her to feel proud of herself and believes that that feeling can help relieve stress.