Don’t worry. Excessive stress is not necessary for success.


By Shayan Ahmad and Andy Yang
<[email protected]> and <[email protected]>

The perception pop culture creates about high school is that it is the best time of our lives, worry-free and adventurous. As far as we can tell though, CHS is no “High School Musical”.

This isn’t just because we don’t break out in song and dance numbers, but because we all have problems that can’t be solved with just a duet. Maybe if we all did no schoolwork like the kids at East High our experience would be the best, but that’s simply not how reality works.

Instead, we get an overload of tests during this time of year: SATs, ACTs, APs — all of this on top of our normal work. With all this pressure on our shoulders, it seems like we can’t even stand upright anymore.

Some find the only way to face down these problems is to push themselves to the brink on a regular basis, stressing out to the point of complete meltdowns.

The problems we face can be dealt with without this sort of misery, though. Even if we can’t live our lives so that we can do away with our troubles by singing, we can all reach our goals just by using the right mentality: we call it the Chill Mentality.

The first step to becoming chill is the easiest. We need to understand that high school is far from the end of the road; in fact, it is only the beginning. The Man tells us that if we fail we might as well be homeless, but as the great Jack Black said in “School of Rock,” we’ve got to stick it to the Man. Even if the Man says we have to overstress to succeed, it simply isn’t true.

It’s essential to lose this mind set because most of us haven’t even lived a quarter of our lives yet. Though it may feel like there is nothing we can do, we can all take a step forward and look back: When has all the tension ever been worth it, and more importantly did the result of the stress we create for ourselves ever justify the negativity it generated?

Many students feel as if the only possible way to obtain success is to stress out and overwhelm themselves, but goals can be obtained without living in the library bathrooms.

The suburban mind set which society forces upon us is to live in the future. Right now we must focus on college; in college we must focus on getting a good job; once we have that its all about our family and so goes the cycle. The fact is that if we only live in the future, we can’t enjoy the present.

The impression we have as adolescents in society is that without unwavering diligence it is impossible to reach excellence, but by balancing out the time we spend working and the time we spend relaxing, a perfect system that allows us to do the right amount of both can be achieved.

It may seem like we have no time to take a break from work, but if we don’t do just that we might as well just put a bullet in our brain’s pleasure sensors. Many people only spend their time to chill during the weekends, but going five days straight at high intensity with only sleep for relaxation time is borderline insanity.

Weekdays are not made solely for hard-core school and work time. There’s nothing wrong with taking time off during the week just to do the things we love: playing an instrument, going to eat with friends or pretending to be a mannequin at Victoria’s Secret­­­—well, that last one might just be us. In fact, taking time out to do activities like that have more benefits than just fun.

According to the Mayo Clinic, relaxation can “reduce muscle tension and increase blood flow to major muscles.” Also, relaxation results in a healthier response to stressful situations, “with a decrease in negative emotional reactions and greater energy reserves.”

And if your parents are the type who try to make your life into an episode of “Lockdown” and won’t let you go out during weekdays, CHS has a number of clubs that at times can seem comical. At least one of them has to appeal to your interests, and joining a not-so-serious club like the popular Four Square Club or Johnny Depp Fan Club can really relieve some stress. Unless you’re not good at Four Square of course, but that’s neither here nor there.

If none of these work out, the entertainment industry is superfluously large, so there has to be something on television that attracts you. Just sit down and watch some shows, whether you want to laugh at the ‘guidos’ on the “Jersey Shore” or get absorbed in a drama like “House.”

We’re not saying you should totally drop off on academic duties, but all of this is achievable with balance. What people need to understand is that if they just did what they need to do they would find they have a surprising amount of extra time. Organizational skills take little work and pay off while waiting for the last gasp does nothing but place extra pressure upon ourselves. When the time comes, do your work, and even start up on it before hand. There really isn’t any point in extending yourself beyond that.

And most importantly, be grateful for what you have. Even if it doesn’t seem like much at times, be glad you have the friends you have, the opportunities you get, the candy you get from the nice stranger in the van with the wooden panel on the side, and though it may seem ridiculous to need to say this, be happy you have a life at all. With our vision shrouded with stress, we lose sight of these graces.

Second semester is when the tests start piling up, and students need to remember to take it easy, even if at times things seem out of control. As long as we can prioritize and organize, we can keep our lives in check and keep our brains from bursting with stress.

So get your work done, but make sure to have a little fun, get a little chill, do a little dance or whatever you have to maintain yourself.

Just remember: there really isn’t all that much to worry about. Just chillax, brochachos.