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Opinion: Stress weighs juniors down -The battle between work and spirit

by Leeza Arbatman

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Balloons are everywhere, people are dressed up in outrageous outfits, the rally is a few days away, but many students are obsessing over the biology test that could possibly raise their grade a few points. Where’s the spirit?

Unfortunately, as many students have discovered in the past, the “dreaded junior year,” just sucks all the life out of you. All you can think about is finishing your homework before 2 a.m. or finding time to do your nightly SAT practice problems.

When I reminisce about my freshman year, one of my fondest memories is homecoming week. Excitement was in the air; activities like eagle painting and the class skit seemed so intriguing and fun. Now, I come to school without a difference in my mood, besides maybe worrying about how I’m going to finish my math project before thanksgiving break.

Even during a junior class meeting, when Santosh Swaminathan (11), the class president, tried so hard to get everyone’s spirit up with an empowering speech, all we juniors could respond with were half-hearted “yays.”

The reality is that this year comes with a lot of work. There is pressure from your parents, your teachers, and even your friends to give 110 percent in everything you do because apparently “this year decides your future.” What a scary but unrealistic thought that is. To think that all the mistakes that we as teenagers make academically or socially are the deciding factors for the rest of our lives?

Yes, stress sucks, and sleeping only a few hours every night sucks. But every high school student has to go through the same situation. It is true, academic standards are becoming more and more rigorous as the years go by (good luck freshmen!), but this is just one of a million excuses that we students give to explain our unenthusiastic attitudes. Everyone is stressed – seniors have college applications, juniors have SAT’s, sophomores have AP classes, and freshmen have to figure out who to go with to their first homecoming dance (along with other, equally important, worries).

Has anyone ever thought that maybe we will perform better on our work if we were more relaxed? Spirit competitions are not set up to be a nuisance: the whole point of homecoming is to give people an incentive to want to come to school and have fun being proud of their class. The reason spirit week exists is to give people something to look forward to and a break from tiring school days.

As for preaching all these positive thoughts, I feel a little hypocritical. I too complain every night to my friends about my never-ending work and my frustration towards teachers about how “they think their class is the only one that matters.” We are all guilty. I often read Facebook statuses about people freaking out over their AP U.S. History test or English reading (which they maybe, just maybe, have had assigned for a week but have procrastinated working on until the night before).

But there is a way to solve this problem. There is a way to feel a little better about showing up at school every morning. And that is none other than showing a little spirit. Yes, that seems like the last thing that you probably want to do during lunch when you could be at the library working on your Emerson essay. But maybe if people took advantage of their free time to play a little earth ball rather than cram for that ten point math quiz (which, as reluctant as you may be to believe, really will not change the rest of your life), these years could turn out to be a lot more enjoyable than everyone thinks.

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Opinion: Stress weighs juniors down -The battle between work and spirit