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A Breakdown of the Mental Breakdown: Why High School is So Stressful

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Stress Reduction Kit
Image by programwitch via Flickr

Cheyenne Haslett ’13
Web Features Editor

Last weekend I had a mental breakdown. At least that’s what I’m calling it. It was my fourth mental breakdown this year.

It was over an English paper.

English is stressful, and I couldn’t think of an idea for this paper, but what was even more stressful was that my mom kept calling me upstairs and my brother kept knocking on my door and my friends kept IMing me with stupid, but very funny, and quite distracting links.

High school is stressful, and maybe I’m underestimating the definition of a “mental breakdown,” but before you judge me on that, lets just go over my daily schedule. Maybe then you’ll understand how the life of a student can easily unravel into what I call a mental breakdown.

Wake up at 6 a.m., and it’s pitch black out. Right here, we’ve already got a problem. I wake up before even the sun gets his lazy butt out of bed. How is someone supposed to function properly when they are forced out of bed, in the dark for that matter, and then have to try and make themselves look acceptable after having been up for five minutes, and then, forced onto a giant yellow bus full of other grumpy kids, to top it all off? And don’t forget, this is all before 7 a.m.

At this point, I’m already longing to be in my warm cozy bed.

Under my fluffy duvet.

Surrounded by a fortress of scrumptious pillows.

Fast asleep.

Anyway, moving on to the next portion of my super stressful day: classes. Yes, what you hear is true, students actually have to go from class to class for seven hours straight, and give their full effort in every single one.

And my day is not over after that, so no I can’t tell myself, “Only seven hours, just get through the seven hours and you’ll be fine.”

After classes, I go to my sport. Now, this part of my day, I am happy to say, does not make me want to curl up in a ball, or even cry for that matter.

No, this is my stress reliever.

After sports, I get to go home. Most would think home is the place I can exhale, relax, and rejuvenate for another extremely stressful day.

Well, that’s where you’re all wrong, because when I get home, my schedule is like this: unpackgymbag, sitdownatdesk, starthomework, gotodinner, scarflikethere’snotomorrow, finishhomework, shower, sleep. Breathing isn’t on the schedule because it’s just not top priority.

By the time I get to sleep, its close to 11, and all I can think is, “wow, I get to wake up in seven hours, then go to school for seven hours, and then come home and do almost seven hours of homework!”

And to think seven used to be my lucky number. Hah.

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “A Breakdown of the Mental Breakdown: Why High School is So Stressful”

  1. Bro fo Sho on October 31st, 2010 3:22 pm

    The graphic was REALLY creative. Nice job!

  2. Alexandra on January 22nd, 2013 8:13 pm

    Okay I totaly get what you mean. I get up at 5 then leave by 6 30 to school. then I have school for & hours and then I go to cheer practice which makes me wanna bang my head against wall some days. then I come home do my home work barely eat and shower and by the time thats done its like 10 30 almost 11 so I get 6 hours of sleep on a usual night. and they expect us to keep up with china. crazy!

  3. Abby on February 15th, 2018 10:10 pm

    I totally relate to this. I have have after school activities then I come home have to listen to my mother yell at me for no reason, do homework, try to eat and do homework then get yelled at for not eating fast enough, then getting told to hurry up and get my homework done because apparently watching a stupid t.v show with my family is more important than my homework, but then if I turn one homework assignment in late my mother gets so mad at me and her expectations are set sky high and I can only jump so far.

  4. Kaitlyn on October 15th, 2018 10:50 pm

    I can definently relate, Im at a breaking point and we’re only 1/4 of the way done with school. I know it will only get harder and that’s what I’m afraid of. I’m already getting little sleep which just exhausts me for the rest of the day. There’s no time for napping either because I have so much god damn homework. On top of that, like you said, I have soccer 3 days a weeks and games on both Saturday and Sunday. Tryouts for high school are also starting and I’m so stressed.

  5. Neomi on October 29th, 2018 12:07 am

    Ive always known I’m not the only one who goes through this, and I always try to remind myself that I’m not alone and that others are feeling the exact same way. But that just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I wake up at 5am and have to leave by 6:30am and start my 40 minute walk to school. Because I have a zero period class, I have to be there by 7:30am (one whole hour earlier than everyone else) therefore I don’t just have to deal with 7 hours of school, I have eight. School gives me so much anxiety. Sometimes I find myself wanting to tear up in class, and sometimes I do. On top of that, I can’t even function properly on weekends anymore because I have homework from my AP classes every single weekend, I can’t catch a break, so school school school is always on my mind. It’s literally ruining me. I LOVE learning okay but the amount of work my teachers leave me is absurd, there is 168 hours in a whole week, it only feels like I ever get like 20 of those for myself. Let me explain, once those 8 hours of school are over, I get home at 4pm, I have like 5 or more hours of homework to do. That alone is already taking me to 9pm/10pm (I always try to go to sleep by 10pm, sometimes I have to accept 11pm). On lucky days I’ll have 2-3 hours of homework, so those days I have SOME time to breathe. Ill hopefully have like 2 hours of ME time if nothing else gets in my way. So basically my WHOLE point here is that I think it’s so crazy how some teachers can’t see that we’re humans too, we need some serious mental breaks too, we can’t always be drowning in work 6/7 days of the week! And I won’t lie, sometimes I do manage to cram all of my weekend homework into one day, like on a Saturday, and I’ll get Sunday off, but then what’s the point if anyway that whole day I’ll just be dreading thinking about having to go to school the next day. And even then my schedule always seems so crammed up with things to do outside of school work! All I’m saying is that my anxiety is through the roof because of school, I feel mentally drained more than I think is healthy if I’m totally honest. But hopefully all of this hard work will lead me to something beautiful. I have hope still and so should anybody reading this, we’ll get through it

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