Managing Stress: Pushing Through Second Semester

Freshman Year 

By Noe Lee 

Freshman year is overwhelming, and as many students have probably discovered, it can be really difficult. As we enter the second semester, freshmen should remember there is more to life than an A+ in Patterns of Civilization. Academics are important but it’s essential to find worth in things outside of the classroom: whether that be in the Spring Musical, a new club or having a laugh with your friends during lunch. 

Sage is a unique school because every person has the opportunity to find their niche. My tip for the second semester is for all of you to get out of your own heads. No one is expecting you to be anything other than yourself. Remember that you have time. Play football next year, start a book club, or say hi to your peer counselor (completely unbiased)! Whatever you choose to do, give yourself the space to fail and try again and be the best version of yourself that you can be. 

Sophomore Year

By Grace Yan

For some sophomores, it may feel like this year whizzed by at the speed of light. With a more rigorous course load than last year, many have much less time to worry about other things beyond academics. While some may find this kind of schedule to be overwhelming, there are some ways to make your life easier.

Students may achieve a sense of “flow” that comes from being busy. Sophomore year is important because it’s the year of adjustment. Many will be taking their first AP courses, discovering their passion project or intensifying their extracurriculars. But, after taking quiz after quiz, test after test, and project after project, students may end up finding a rhythm that both numbs them to the workload and also makes it feel not as overwhelming, maybe even fun at times. Taking breaks is an important part of staying productive and mentally healthy. However, for each person, taking a “break” may need different approaches. For example, I usually get all sluggish and unmotivated if I go for a couple days without doing anything academic. So, I’d always bring a book or practice problem along for my vacations just to keep my mentality in check to recover quickly after a break. Other times, when I’m feeling very burnt out, I simply switch subjects and do something that’s easier and will give me a sense of accomplishment when I finish, which will motivate me to continue working on my next assignment. No student is the same. How other students study won’t necessarily work for another. 

Junior Year

By Phoebe Pan

Especially for juniors, the start of the second semester may feel overwhelming. Balancing class assignments, extracurriculars, standardized testing, hobbies, and sports can feel intimidating, but it’s important to find your motivation and start the new semester—and year—on the right foot. As we begin our journeys in the college admission process, stress and expectations are higher than ever, so time management skills, healthy habits, stress management, and a solid work ethic are crucial to success this quarter.  Coming off of a long break, it can feel easy to fall into bad habits and procrastinate, so finding solutions to limit distractions and ease anxiety are essential. Whenever I find it hard to focus, I try to push myself to finish my current assignment within a certain time limit, simulating a class environment and challenging myself to be more productive when possible. At the same time, the constant flow of work can feel stressful; in moments like these, it can be helpful to complete a small task, whether school-related or a personal goal, to make the first step. Finding a creative outlet—whether it be drawing, singing, playing an instrument, cooking, or writing—can also help you relax and regain focus on the task at hand.

By Alia Sajjadian 

By many accounts, junior year is the apex of stress. As the spring approaches and the cram season prior to AP exams arrives, the anticipation of AP and final exams can be overwhelming. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming stress often results in the opposite of being productive, and procrastination sets in. TikTok and Instagram magically take on a new appeal the more work there is. In order to avoid the late minute cram sessions and panic, planners can help to visually sketch out your plan and schedule for the day. Within the schedule, purposely blocking out periods of break and relaxation is critical to avoid burnout. Equally important is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule which will help sustain stamina in several days of repeated studying. Additionally, the importance of a power nap should not be overlooked. With the constant barrage of notes, books, and electronics, it’s also a good idea to change your scenery and relocate to another area to study after breaks.

Senior Year

By Xinyi Xie

Though not typically seen as the most difficult year of high school in terms of coursework, senior year is oftentimes still very overwhelming. Students must learn to balance their usual commitments — school, extracurriculars, family time, etc. — with the lengthy process of applying to college, especially during their first semester. This sharp increase in workload is also accompanied by the stress of waiting for college admission decisions that may last well into March or even April.

In times like these, it is important to adjust your mentality. Don’t let your entire life revolve around college applications. Take time off for yourself and do something you enjoy, even if it may seem unproductive. There comes times when you are just too tired and continuing to work is ineffective and inefficient. Keep in mind that you do not want to overwork your applications. Your personal statements should be thorough and well thought-out, but more-refined does not always equal better. Write about the things that come most naturally to you. It will not only come off as more genuine, but also take a lot of strain off your shoulders.

By Lauren Chung

Along with the new year quickly rolling in, there are so many things to look forward to in our second semester. To name a few, there’s winter formal, prom, Spring at Sage, and so much more! But sometimes, things can get a bit difficult; we all have our ups and downs, but we need to endure these challenges and push through the last bit of our senior year. 

I have learned that it is necessary to find balance and to take care of my mental health. When times get hard, I love to alleviate my stress by going to the gym. For me, the gym encourages me to push my physical limits and focus on working on myself. However, I’ll find myself a bit lazy to go to the gym sometimes, but I always find relief and comfort at home with my dogs. 

By Noe Lee 

When thinking back on the fall semester, the word that comes to my mind is stress. Though not exclusive to seniors, the first semester of senior year is notorious for its trials and overwhelming workloads. To any juniors reading this with wide eyes, don’t worry! I promise you it’s not as terrible as everyone says.

Unfortunately, many of us have a tendency to circulate a sense of competitive stress. For a while, I fell into this cycle: constantly complaining about my lack of sleep or how I was “failing” my classes. It may seem like a victory to gain sympathy from your peers, but I have learned that there is a line between confiding in others, and competing with them for a sense of superiority. 

My advice for my fellow seniors–and all other students–is to stay in your lane. You are on your own track to success. That may not look like your classmate’s version of success, but you have to learn to be happy with yourself. With college decisions coming out, I urge you to be excited for your peers: congratulate the people you may not always speak to, celebrate with friends, and make memories in your last year at Sage! Seniors, we have a little over four months left before we walk across the stage and high school flies into the rearview. In the coming weeks, work to find peace with yourself and come together to support each other as a graduating class.