Columnist speaks on stress and how she deals with pressure associated with school.

By Ayah Elsheikh ’20

“I’m definitely failing this test.”

“I feel like I’ll never understand this.”

“My grades are so bad.”

Every day as I walk the halls of the school, I feel an overwhelming sense of stress radiating off of students as they discuss their grades and fears for the future Conversations are no longer about the latest news or plans for the weekend but about trivial tasks to finish and tests to take.

At lunch, my friends spend their time with their noses in their books and fear in their eyes, anxiously preparing for upcoming assessments. I’m definitely no exception and a majority of the time I spend on my phone is refreshing the PowerSchool app as I bite my nails in anticipation of any change in my GPA.

For a lot of students, school is their entire future. But such thinking clouds any other part of the future that’s worth any optimism. The idea that everything is worth stressing about is breaking us down. It’s unhealthy how much we subconsciously allow every task to invade our minds.

There is this outlook amongst our generation that any task that requires effort is one that will make our lives more difficult, and that hurts our chances of success in every sphere of life.

For a time, I caught my subconscious taking a hold of my mind, making my outlook more negative and changing the way I carry out my day and interact with the people around me. It became physically and mentally draining to even think about my education. There was a point where I lost hope for my future.

It was on one particular day when I watched one of my friends pace the room, pale-faced, yelling at us all to be quiet because she couldn’t afford a B on her science test, that I realized I was looking at a reflection of myself. Since that day, every time I find myself slipping into a stressful state, I put down everything and light candles in my mind. Of course not literally, but I close my eyes, breathe and imagine myself enveloped in the warmth and light of a few brightly glowing candles. There are so many pieces of life that are out of my control, but this is the one piece that is completely mine Students who walk the halls and feel that overwhelming sense of stress can find a way to control how they deal with the situations they are confronted with. This generation has the opportunity to make their futures brighter if we all just light a few candles.