Now that it’s June, I can officially say that an entire school year has passed and it’s finally summer! I’m super glad that all that stress is finally off my shoulders, phew! But how did this past school year treat you? For me, it was a rough yet exciting journey. I don’t know if I can speak for anyone else, but my senior year was definitely the most mentally draining for me. But now that I’m officially done with high school, I would like to talk about my senior year experience.
I won’t share everything that I experienced this past school year, but I can say that it was filled with spontaneous adventures, new friendships, and new discoveries. I also went through some mental challenges due to various reasons (mainly schoolwork and feeling like I wasn’t being myself), and I definitely spent a lot of time reflecting on myself. I also shed a lot of tears over the year because I let stress build up to a point that I couldn’t handle.
I was stressed out my senior year due to numerous factors. The first one was school, because I wanted to end my high school career with straight A’s (something I hadn’t done in earlier years). Another cause of my stress was dealing with unhealthy relationships, and having to forget people who have influenced my life so much in the past but began bringing so much negativity into my life. I was also learning how to put myself and my happiness first (which I’m still working on), which can be stressful too.
Just from those factors, I realized I made a couple mistakes in my senior year, the biggest one being that I believed stressing myself out (through school work and dealing with unhealthy relationships) so often was okay because I could just work that much harder to balance everything out. The other big mistake I made was not talking to others about all the negative emotions that I had been feeling. These two mistakes led to me having so many mental breakdowns and hurt myself.
So, my advice to upcoming seniors (or honestly, to anyone in general), is to take it chill. And no, I don’t mean sitting around the house wasting your time all day. For me, “take it chill” means challenging yourself enough that you can feel some stress, but not to the point where you feel overwhelmed with work all the time. “Take it chill” as in make sure you have those days where you just spend all day spoiling yourself instead of focusing on the stress in your life. “Take it chill” as in—as cliche as it sounds—know when to stop and smell the roses!
I’d bet that many high schoolers want to challenge themselves and take courses that will help benefit their future, but then also take classes that they are actually interested in—not just because your friends are taking a class or because your parents want you to take them. And honestly, if you cannot handle the stress of taking a whole boatload of courses to challenge yourself, your grades and mental health will end up paying for it in the end. I promise you that your overall health is way more important than any grade that is on your report card.
Still, I do encourage you guys to test and find out how much stress you can actually handle, just so you know your limit. By doing that, you can ensure and plan for when you should schedule a day for yourself to take it chill. For me, I rejoice and recharge by either talking with friends or by staying home and giving myself a “me day” (which includes watching a good movie, napping, taking a nice long bath, yeah, you get the gist). But this isn’t how everybody feels better, so do whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed!
Also, if you ever feel overwhelmed about anything at all (and I really mean anything), TALK IT OUT WITH SOMEONE. Talk to someone who can relate to you, someone who you trust and know will support you. This could range from anyone like a parent to a friend or even a teacher. Make sure you release all your negative emotions before it gets bottled up for too long and is expressed in destructive ways. And while you may think that you cannot talk to anybody, there is ALWAYS someone willing to help someone else out.
I promise that life will run its course and even if you feel stress now, you can do it! Challenge yourself, but also make sure you know when to have a chill day just for yourself. I say this from my personal high school experience, but I know that many of you will have your own experiences! So don’t forget to treat yo’ self!
Header Credit: Heidi Tang