Stress affects the East community as school comes to a close

Emily Reisman ('16)/ Eastside Staff

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With finals week approaching, students are scrambling to find their notebooks, tests, and homework from the beginning of the year to use for their last assessment of the school year. Many students are spending days and nights before the final studying while others wait until the last minute to get in their review. No matter what method you use, you are sure to come across something that almost every student feels before finals: stress.

Stress can be defined as the brain’s response to any demand.  Many people know that when the body feels a sense of danger, an automatic response known as the “fight or flight” reaction kicks in. However, this process has another name that many are not aware of; it’s also called the stress response.

Although the stress response can help give an extra boost of strength in emergency situations or times of danger, it can also help keep people focused when they need to meet a certain goal or challenge. But how much stress is too much stress?

“A small amount of stress is good because it motivates you,” said Mr. Dilks, a mathematics teacher at East. He believes that “the goal is to manage your stress so you have a little but you’re not overstressed.”

Many experts also share the same opinion. Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. wrote in a health article that, “In small doses, [stress] can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.”

Although it may seem that most students feel the same way about stress right before finals, it turns out that many of their opinions differ, especially based on the grade they are in.

The freshmen have never gone through the finals process before so they tend to feel very stressed out, unsure of how to study.

“I feel very anxious towards finals because I feel like I might not pass my freshman year,” said Xavier Cruz (’17). He has only started studying a little bit for finals the week before, but can already feel the stress approaching as finals come closer.

While some feel stressed about what they need to study or how they are going to do it, others feel it because of the way the teachers approach the week before finals.

“I find the week before finals extremely stressful because rather than focusing on review, some of the teachers are still teaching us new stuff,” said Mason Williams (’16). He does not feel that it is appropriate for teachers to be focusing on new material when finals are just around the corner. For him, the methods the teachers use make him more stressed about finals than the actual material does.

Lewis Cohen (’15) has a different perspective on finals that takes into account the specific classes he is taking and his overall grade in them for the year.

“I think it really depends on the class” he said. “Where I have a borderline grade, I care more about the final test”.  He feels a little stressed out over specific classes, but because he is a junior and has already took his AP tests, a lot of his stress is already reduced.

Seniors tend to be lot less stressed out over finals than all the other grades.

“I don’t have to take most of my finals, so I am very calm, but I am more stressed about other things like finding a summer job” said Dana Chafetz (’14).  Although finals don’t seem to be stressing her out too much, she needs to think ahead into the future now that she will be officially out of high school. These things stress her out more than worrying about studying for finals.

Stress comes in all different forms at all different times. The real question is, how do you deal with too much stress? According to helpguide.org, it’s as simple as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and focusing on the positive rather than the negative. Follow these helpful tips to make finals week, and your life, just a little bit more stress free.