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May has arrived, and it is the month of the year in which students study for hours and get little sleep. For many teenagers at Los Alamos High School, finals are inevitably one of the most stressful times of the year.
With finals week fast approaching, some students are starting to crack under the pressure while others are thriving from the stress, gearing up to finish out their school year with a bang.
Different teenagers handle stress in their own ways, which sheds a behind-the-scenes light on what really goes on when students are cramming during these last few weeks of school.
LAHS senior Alexandra Berl takes four Advanced Placement classes, which entails four AP exams as well. These tests take copious amounts of time to study for and multiple hours to complete.
Her trick to relieving stress? “Nutella, swimming, reading, coffee, laughing, movies (and) sleeping,” Berl said.
She loves her AP classes. Her interest in the subjects motivates her to do her best, and she loves the bond that she feels with the other AP students.
However, it’s not all fun and games. She agrees that AP classes are most stressful during finals.
“Mostly, I try to focus on what will matter in the long run … Sleep is so, so important,” Berl said.
Elizabeth Radcliffe, an English teacher at LAHS, can see stress from a teenage angle.
Her definition is quite simple: “When I think of stress and teenagers, especially when it comes to school, my definition is ‘being overwhelmed by circumstances you think you can’t deal with at the time.’”
Kenzi Hunsaker, a freshman at LAHS, believes stress also comes from “the pressure of failing.”
As a freshman, Hunsaker does not feel stressed most of the time, but during finals week that changes.
“For those of us who have lower grades, finals will either make or break you. It’s a lot to deal with,” Hunsaker said.
To reduce stress, Radcliffe suggests preparing early and getting sleep. Hunsaker also suggests awareness of the body’s limits.
“I take breaks and try to relax by doing something I enjoy. Don’t work to the point where you can’t focus. Put yourself first,” Hunsaker said.
As finals week looms on the horizon and many students are mustering up their last bits of energy to take their final few tests, students can become all-consumed in stress.
“It’s important to remember that the thing you’re stressing over won’t last forever. Finals will be over in what seems like no time. If you try to keep your stress in perspective, you can relax a little more now and save yourself trouble in the long run,” Radcliffe said.