Working overtime

When Katie Jung ’14 is stressed, she practices the stress and insomnia relief poses that her yoga teacher Katie Lowry-Chang taught her.

Jung has found her junior year to be especially stressful, when compared to other years past, and struggles to find ways to deal with it.

“It’s more challenging than I thought it would be,” Jung said. “And now we’re meeting with our deans about college and everything’s just really starting to pile up.”

Jung, who spends around five hours a night working, also believes that the culture of stress at Harvard-Westlake also adds to her stress levels.

“I think the culture adds to everyone’s individual stress levels,” Jung said. “If you aren’t stressed, it makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong.”

A publication from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests ways of dealing with stress, saying to “lower unrealistic expectations” and “get proper sleep.”

In order to combat her stress, Jung sleeps and makes sure that she has time for herself on the weekends.

Lizzete Medina ’14 uses a different method to avoid staying up until all hours of the night working. Most days, Medina finishes her homework during her frees and the two hours a day she spends taking the bus to and from school. This way, when she gets home she can relax.

Even though Medina typically doesn’t do homework when she gets home, she still normally only gets around six-and-a-half hours of sleep each night. She typically likes to relax when she gets home, spending most of her time on the internet or drawing.

Although Medina wouldn’t describe herself as sleep deprived, she thinks she would be less anxious if she got more sleep, because she would be more organized.

Medina said that a major cause of her stress is procrastination.

When Medina doesn’t feel like working, she tends to procrastinate by drawing.

Even though Medina regularly feels over-extended, she doesn’t understand how people pull all-nighters.

“I would rather go to bed knowing I had nothing done and suffer the consequences in the morning than pulling an all nighter, getting it done and being too tired the next day to function,” she said.

When Medina feels overwhelmed, she likes to stop working and try to calm down.

“When I’m stressed, I just give up on life and listen to music for a while,” Medina said.

School psychologist Luba Bek recognizes that stress is a problem at Harvard-Westlake, she recommends that students “avoid awfulizing” events such as bad grades.

“If something seems incredibly important and distressing, think of how important this issue will be to you in six months, a year, five years from now,” Bek said. “It puts everything in the proper perspective.”

The article “What Is Stress? How To Deal With Stress” in Medical News Today states that a major cause of stress is feeling like there is a “lack of time.” In the busy lives of students here, that is a major contributor to stress.

Covi Brannan ’15 juggles her academic load with participation in dance and theatre, which she does both in and out of school. She agrees with the article in Medical News Today, and wishes that there was more time.

“For most people, they won’t find their life in school,” she said. “They need to do other things. They need to have dance or sports or music. If they want to discover their inner self and who they are, and do this crap ton of work we’re assigned, they have to sacrifice either what they love, or what they have to do. It’s a lose-lose situation. If there was more time in the day, we’d have time to pursue what we love and have more time leftover to pursue the things required of us.”

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