How to Manage Senior Stress

The stress of senior year and how to combat it

How to Manage Senior Stress

Grace Newby, Staff Writer

Most seniors are stressed at Woodside High School. The Senior Thesis and the added stress of college applications weigh down their spirits and affect their moods.

These new assignments, combined with the average coursework given by teachers, make a toxic environment full of dissatisfaction and exhaustion for students. The school must figure out what measures can be taken to reduce stress and catch the oncoming wave of anxiety before it strikes in twelfth  grade.

From the beginning of high school, counselors and teachers make sure to encourage the idea of college education to every student. They remind classes each year, warming students up to the idea of the UCs and the Common Application.

Suddenly it is senior year, and students are expected to complete college applications, including the many writing prompts included in each, create their senior thesis, and keep up the rigor of their past academic years through AP and elective courses.

“The most stressful part of senior year has definitely been the combination of college applications and the normal workload of senior year,” Woodside senior Sophia Venturelli said.

This attitude is prevalent among seniors on campus. Many see the expectations given by colleges and the school as unreasonable and overwhelming.

“I feel like as a grade, we’re all really stressed by the amount of work we’ve been given,” Katherine Quan, another Woodside senior, states.  “It’s not just at school either. The stuff we’re told to do by colleges and counselors to get into a ‘good’ college adds even more pressure.”

About 90% of the Woodside High School class of 2016 attended a two or four year college after graduation, which is above the state average by approximately 30%. This achievement by the students and staff of Woodside should not be downplayed, but to keep this statistic growing, it seems important that senior students stop becoming so discouraged by the workload accompanying college applications. Changing the whole system of applying for college is an impractical goal, but there are steps the school can take to try to ease the stress of this essential year.

Venturelli added, “The school could help by not assigning as much homework during the first semester of senior year when [most] people are applying to college.”

Another step the school could take to reduce senior stress is move the senior thesis to the second semester.. The senior thesis involves many hours of research and writing, and combined with personal statements, supplements, and assigned essays from English class, the task can seem daunting. The senior thesis is important for college preparation, but beginning this extensive assignment in the busiest portion of the year seems to cause stress.

Senior Mollie Kraus said, “Especially as an AP student, it is overwhelming to write so many different papers in such a short period of time.”

Moving the senior thesis to second semester may be a route teachers at Woodside can take to reduce the weight on the shoulders of seniors.

“I feel pretty rushed”, added Kraus, “Sometimes I don’t want to start homework and applications right when I get home, but if I don’t, I feel like I’m behind.”

Though some seniors have free periods, not all are given this extra work time. The introduction of a study hall period as a mandatory class for seniors could assist the time management of these students. According to Business Insider, having a study hall period during the day can solve the problem of limited after school work time if the time is used productively.

Some may argue that because seniors are only required to take five classes instead of six they are given added time to do work, yet college counselors and teachers push students to take as many classes as possible in an effort to show colleges that students are dedicated to their school work.

These changes to senior year could help alleviate the immense stress Woodside seniors feel. “All we want is to get into college or at least have a little fun this year,” added Venturelli.