Stressed Students

In-person, full schedules causes stress for returning online students.


Illustration by Sophie Perlstein

ANXIETY ALERT- Returning from an online school year has triggered stress among students so far this year. “It feels like I have been stressed all the time,” said sophomore Binh Le, “I was nervous about making new friends and handling the workload of classes.” If you are feeling stressed, school officials encourage you to see your counselor.

Isabella Rayball, Staff Writer

Hours of homework. Finding time for clubs. Making friends. The start of school brings opportunity–but also stress that can paralyze students. 

“It feels like I have been stressed all the time,” said Binh Le, a sophomore student returning from a year online. “I was nervous about making new friends and handling the workload of classes.”

Le is not alone; many DM students have felt pressure returning to school this year after spending the most of last year online. 

DM offers a number of clubs and sports but Binh hasn’t joined any of these because she has “too much homework” and is stressed about not having enough time for both.

Binh is one of the many students who spent all of last year online and is coming to DM for the first time. These students haven’t attended in person school for more than a year, causing a jump in school work and expectations coming into this school year.

I want to join a club, but I don’t have the time to manage it.

— Binh Le, (10)

I am taking mostly honors classes and I was online for most of last year,” said Chloe Allen (10), “ so getting back into the rhythm with honors classes and higher expectations than last year has been difficult but not impossible.”

DM teachers and administrators have also had their concerns for students returning to school.

“I think the biggest struggle for [these students] is fitting in and finding their place,” said DM counselor Ms. Okun. “We just want to be able to stay in school and give people a safe learning environment.”

A big concern for freshman students is that their last full year of school was sixth grade.

“Sixth grade compared to ninth grade is an insane difference, maturity wise, workload wise, the expectations and some kids aren’t ready to meet all the expectations.” said Ms. Jongewaard, IB freshman English teacher.

“I personally understand that it is a big jump for these [freshman] workload wise,” said Ms. Jongewaard, known as “Ms. J” to her students, “and am more lenient when it comes to an overbearing workload.” 

It’s not only the freshman and sophomores who have been feeling the pressure this year. Juniors and seniors have felt the heat of a full-time school schedule.  A poll given to DM students showed that on a scale of 1-5, students have an average level 3-4 stress so far this year. 

“There is so much going on in every single class. I don’t think teachers realize the amount of stress they put on us,” said one junior student, who asked that their name not be used. “I’ve had hours of homework very often and it’s just the beginning of the school year.

“And, outside of school, students actually have lives. School is the most exhausting and stressful thing in my life.”

Juniors and seniors have the responsibility of preparing for the end of high school, which can include taking the SAT, employment, or college applications. According to some, this seems impossible to balance on top of their normal school work. 

What should students do?

“Self advocate,” Ms. J. said. “[Teachers”need] to know when students are struggling and can give them the help they need.” 

As these students are becoming adults, they now have the responsibility of assuming accountability. This includes talking to adults if school is putting too much pressure on them.

 “My most important piece of advice to any students is to seek help when you need it,” said guidance counselor Ms. Okun. “If you don’t know who to talk to, contact your guidance counselor, who can direct you in the right direction.” 

Guidance counselors are located by the office  and are also reachable by email for those who need help.

Each student is assigned to a counselor based on their last name, but any one of them will help students find the support they need. 

“We just want everyone to fit it and find their place.” said Ms. Okun, “It’s difficult to return to school in such challenging times, but we’re all here to support one another and wish the best for each other”