South Lyon High School students share their coping mechanisms: how to deal with stress

Jessica Sarrach ‘24, Editor-in-Chief and Madelyn Furstenau ‘26, Student Life Editor

The school has recently hit its apex level of stress. Seniors have received their college admissions decisions and must now prepare for that next chapter of their life, be it trade school, university, or a gap year. Students are also preparing for AP exams, which begin in early May. Freshmen and sophomores are currently readying themselves to take the PSATs. Juniors are tasked with completing one of the most challenging and comprehensive tests of their high school career: the SAT. And as always, the weight of final exams continues to loom over students’ heads as the final days of the school year near, with just two more months—for seniors even less—separating them from the finish line. 

With so much cause for stress, it can be hard to imagine any reprieve in the student body. School can quickly become overwhelming when schoolwork begins to pile up. But our students have gotten creative when it comes to coping, and the school year’s end may not be as despairing as it may seem.

Regarding coping strategies and methods for stress management, junior Brycen Mackenzie said, “I listen to music to help with stress because it calms me, and then I’m able to be less stressed.” Music is one fast and easy way to ensure a quick mood boost. While it might not offer a long-term solution, music can be very helpful for those in dire need of a pick-me-up. Junior Ashleigh Blair said, “I go to Barnes and Noble to find new books to read.” Books can offer another calm route for a brief form of escapism.

For some people, quick distractions are not entirely effective in lowering stress levels. Junior Anna Rottinghaus said, “I sleep to forget my problems, and I pet my cat’s soft fur in order to up my stimulation.” Sleep is a little more time consuming of a route, but it can offer a more long term sense of relief. Junior Emma Consiglio said, “I rewatch old Barbie movies to reminisce on my childhood.” Movies are another middle of the road option, which is more extensive, but can have a drastic result.

Not everyone can find such a peaceful route to dealing with stress, and some people need to take a more active approach. Junior Charlotte Williams said, “I workout, or throw things, or break things.” As long as your activity is not harming others, a physical approach has the ability to offer immense relief.

In addition to academic stress, many students also participate in sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities. On top of lack of motivation to complete schoolwork, the need to attend practices or meetings can make it even more difficult to fulfill necessary tasks. A good practice is to complete as much homework during your classes or advisory hour, especially if there is little to no free time later in the day to do so. This is also helpful if you already know that you will not have the energy to complete assignments after the school day is over.

Even when things are getting stressful, it is important to remember that there are people around you who are willing to help. This can be a parent, a friend, or even a counselor at school. While many students have their own coping mechanisms, hearing feedback and advice from other outside perspectives is pleasant as well. Receiving input from friends and family is always comforting, especially during times of stress. Freshman Randi Jacobson said, “Family and friends have helped me with stress by talking about issues and maintaining a good social life outside of school, that way there was not too much time to be stressed out,”

Students have busy lives, and although stress is a constant factor, there are ways to avoid further conflicts. It is important to know that many students struggle with lack of motivation and higher levels of stress, especially towards the end of the school year. Some great ways to deal with these are staying organized, practicing good time management, and talking to people who can offer help and allow you to push through personal struggles. Freshman Sophia Goodridge said, School, with its workload and extracurricular activities combined, can be very overwhelming at times, but they can be much more bearable and even enjoyable when practicing efficient coping mechanisms.

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