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Stress is one race you really do not want to win

By Sammie ’20

The first day of school may be old news now, but I remember it well. Although September hadn’t even begun yet, much less ended, I found that I was actually excited to wake up and start school again.

That kind of thinking is ridiculous, of course. I was going to be a junior, and I had heard that junior year was terrible. So why was I looking forward to it? I wasn’t supposed to.

But that’s exactly it, isn’t it? We think we’re not supposed to enjoy school. Over and over again, I’ve heard my friends complain about this test and that essay and thought, “I’m going through the exact same thing. Let me tell my friend about my own stress, so she knows she’s not alone.”

This inevitably leads to the “Stress Olympics”—when students unintentionally try to outdo their peers in talking about how tired, overworked and stressed they are. This competition creates an echo chamber at Marlborough where the only thing we hear—and the only thing we tell each other—is how awful school is.

So, while the school year is young, let’s step back and think about what makes school worth our time. This isn’t a “check your privilege” moment; instead, it’s a way to find as much genuine good as possible. This is especially valuable when you have three assessments in three days and are feeling bone-tired.

Taking time to appreciate the good doesn’t mean ignoring our struggles at school—in fact, appreciating all aspects of your experience is the first step toward improving it. 

Peer pressure is strong; if we’re surrounded by a community that constantly focuses on every single inconvenience that Marlborough sends our way, we will forget all of the amazing opportunities that our school has to offer.

Instead, we should all take a moment to look at the amazing opportunities that Marlborough hands to us. If I think about it hard enough, I can find at least one thing I like about every class I’m taking this semester. By focusing on these positives, I can engage in my classes and enjoy them a lot more.

On a wider scope, Marlborough gives us the opportunity to foster friendships, to open our eyes to social issues, to read books we may never have touched otherwise and so much more. Most importantly, we are given the problem-solving tools to deal with friendship troubles, difficult assessments and college applications.

It’s so easy to stare at these problems and forget that we already have the tools to fix them because, through constant reinforcement of pain and negativity, we convince ourselves that we can’t overcome them.

When you choose to enjoy school each day, you’re doing yourself a favor. When the whole student body chooses to enjoy it, we’re doing each other a favor. And then, we can finally appreciate waking up before September ends.

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