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Seniors Struggle with Stress

Students manage anxiety while applying to college

Seniors+Divya+Minnaganti+and+Preston+Chen+meet+with+Northwestern+college+admissions+officer+in+the+counseling+office+on+Sept.+22.+Photo+by+Shoshana+Weinstein.+
Seniors Divya Minnaganti and Preston Chen meet with Northwestern college admissions officer in the counseling office on Sept. 22. Photo by Shoshana Weinstein.

Seniors Divya Minnaganti and Preston Chen meet with Northwestern college admissions officer in the counseling office on Sept. 22. Photo by Shoshana Weinstein.

Seniors Divya Minnaganti and Preston Chen meet with Northwestern college admissions officer in the counseling office on Sept. 22. Photo by Shoshana Weinstein.

Shoshana Weinstein, Staff Writer

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It’s that time of year: the leaves are starting to change color, the weather’s getting cooler, and seniors at Parkway Central are starting their college applications. Although this is a moment of exciting change for many students, others feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. In fact, stress is at an all-time high among high school students, according to a study from the Educational Development Center. Balancing schoolwork, extracurriculars, and social events are already difficult for most students; once college applications are thrown into the mix, many seniors are left feeling crushed under the weight of their responsibilities.

So how do seniors cope with this stress? In many cases, the key is to avoid losing perspective. Getting accepted into that dream college can seem like the single most important objective in a student’s life, and the application process could feel like an all-encompassing ordeal as a result. However, it’s best to remember that getting rejected from that Ivy League university is not a judgment of your self-worth, nor will it deter your chances of future success. No matter what college you go to, what you get out of your higher education is up to you.
“I am fortunate enough to have some buddies who graduated last year and the year before, so I talk to them,” senior Manny Stephens said. “Mostly they just say, ‘Bro, you’ll be alright. You’re gonna do fine.’ They usually say that once it’s over, it’s super gratifying, that college is stressful but eventually rewarding.” An attitude like Stephens’s can be immensely helpful for students hoping to manage stress. Sometimes dealing with anxiety is as simple as realizing that you’re going to be fine.

Making peace with uncertainty can also be an extremely effective strategy for managing college-related stress. Teachers at Parkway Central report noticing the most anxiety among the students who are unsure of their post-graduation plans.
“For some seniors, I know that they’re still unsure of what they want to do in college or even whether they want to go to college or not,” Brad Robertson, AP Psychology teacher, said. “So I think that level of uncertainty definitely creates some stress as we’re talking deadlines.”
Decisively choosing which schools you apply to is important. But so is coming to terms with the fact that uncertainty about college acceptance is inevitable, as is uncertainty regarding which career you will pursue in college.
“Be okay with not knowing exactly what you want to do. There’s a lot of time to decide, both in high school and in college,” Robertson said.

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Seniors Struggle with Stress