Stressful Misconceptions


Ronak Desai

Senior Josh Martin exhausts himself working on homework. Eventually, he completed the work, though it was not of the quality he hoped.

According to the Foundation for Economic Education, millennials are members of America’s most stressed generation, and whether it’s because of parents, internal motivation or external pressure, school often magnifies rather than alleviates this stress. In fact, there are several misconceptions regarding dealing with stress in school and when doing school work that students often fall prey to.

An initial issue concerns an area I am particularly woeful at paying attention to: health. It’s important to ensure you cover each of your basic necessities. For this, you should always stay hydrated, eat plenty of food and stay rested. While it is extremely simple and seemingly basic advice, I emphasize and begin with it primarily because I fail at it. In actuality, though, each of these contribute in unexpected ways for students. Amidst a significant amount of homework, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated, an act that’s critical to nearly every facet of your health. The same is possible with food, but for me, it’s often a conscious choice when I either don’t eat enough or healthily. This is where the misconception exists, and it happens because students think the cost of hurting my health is outweighed by the benefit of the extra time to do homework, but the inverse is in fact true. Being healthy enhances your ability to think and process information, making homework easier and your work ethic more efficient. The same is even more true for getting enough rest, and it is obvious for most individuals when they barely make it through school without falling asleep or can’t accurately follow lectures or notes because of fatigue.

Another misconception of reducing stress relies on always taking more breaks. It is, instead, about working at every possible moment. This, of course, is overshadowed by the first misconception, so breaks when needed should be included. With a lot of school work, though, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed by dwelling on the sheer amount of work. This, however, often acts against you by freezing, instead of accelerating, your work ethic. By working in every possible moment and not focusing solely on the daunting amount that you have, you have the ability to quickly reduce the amount of work you have, at which point you can think about the work as a whole. When it’s a small amount of work, you’re motivated to complete it and move on, but when it’s a lot, it feels as if you’ll never make that step, ultimately acting to decrease your drive.

A final misconception centers on time management. While many students don’t realize or acknowledge it, they implicitly believe that stress acts as a form of motivation. Ultimately, this is the cause of procrastination for many students. They believe starting a project or assignment early would produce an inefficient work ethic that produced few results but think waiting until the last minute provides the sense of motivation needed to complete the task quickly. Not only does this decrease the quality of the work, though, but it damages mental health. Stress inherently stifles thought and action, so accomplishing tasks when stressful does not mean the stress causes the work to be completed but, instead, that work is being completed in spite of the stress. Naturally, this means that beginning earlier would boost the quality and quantity of work completed while minimizing your stress experienced due to school.

These misconceptions, among others, guide the beliefs of many students in high school. For a few, they may not even be misconceptions. It is important, however, to identity these students as the exception instead of the norm, indicating that most students could benefit by changing their health, work ethic and time management practices to minimize stress in school.