Under Pressure

Junior year of high school is a really stressful time for anyone; taking APs, keeping up with extra circulars, and trying to maintain a social life can be exhausting. I knew that going into it, yet I definitely didn’t expect that some moments would be unbearable. Towards the beginning of the year, when I was still getting into the swing of things and trying to figure out how to best manage my time, I felt completely overwhelmed. For a while, I just ignored the stress I was feeling, and used it to motivate me to get all of my work done as efficiently as possible, but the more I ignored it, the worse it got.

Around October or November, I was struggling with a unit in AP Biology, and felt underprepared for a test I knew was coming up. The weekend before was packed with dance rehearsals, so I was exhausted during the little time I had in-between to study. The night before the test, I panicked. I definitely wasn’t ready. One night wasn’t going to be enough. Bawling, I went to my parents and explained the situation, and because they know I’m not one to slack off or try to get out of my responsibilities, they agreed to call into school the next day saying I was sick so I could study.

I spent a good 8 or 9 hours the next day re-doing all of the practice worksheets we had been given in class, as well as previous AP FRQs on the topic. By the end of the day I was feeling pretty good about all of the topics we had covered that unit and decided I was ready for the test.

The next day after school, I met with my teacher and she brought me to an empty class room, gave me a timer and the test, and left. The first question was a little tricky, but eventually I got it and moved on to the next. Each question got increasingly more difficult, and I started to panic again. I had spent endless hours covering this material- how could I still not get it? I told myself to not get overwhelmed, and tried my best to answer all of the questions in the time remaining. But, by the end of the FRQs, I was barely holding back my tears. I felt awful. I was worried my parents and teacher would be disappointed, and that my peers would think I was stupid if I did badly. When the buzzer rang, I had no choice but to give the test into my teacher.

This test was the last straw; I burst into tears and ran into the bathroom to avoid letting anyone see me so upset. I was supposed to go to dance after school, but I couldn’t stop my heavy sobbing. Eventually, I calmed down enough to call my best friend, and we talked for hours about everything that had been going on and how overwhelmed we both felt. I was comforted to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Although high school can have some really rough moments, having a good support system and taking some time to de-stress, whether it’s talking to a friend, listening to music, exercising, watching tv, whatever, makes everything much more bearable.

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