Stress during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

originally set for publication on 12/14/2016

December is known as a time for joy and happiness as the holidays are around the corner, but before the happiness begins, students traditionally struggle with overwhelming exam stress. Each student handles their stress differently than the next. Some let the stress blow right over them with an attitude that winter break is coming soon enough and that everything will be easy until then. Others drown themselves in their stress and become extremely overwhelmed. After talking with many peers, the answers varied entirely.

Sophomore Logan Tucker shared his feelings about how he felt going into the week of exams very soon. He explained how he has never been exposed to exams and the overall “stressful atmosphere” that everyone dreads so much. “Coming from Princess Anne High School, I have never had to take exams before, so I really don’t know what to expect.” Logan expressed how English was going to be the hardest exam for him to prepare himself for and perform successfully on. “English is my lowest grade; therefore, it is going to be the hardest one to take.” After asking him what he will do to prepare himself best, he responded with “I will study the material I have learned, but I need to occasionally have breaks and go on my phone.”

For Junior Reed Goldner, his habits and approaches to studying for exams helps keep him as stress-free as possible. As a junior, Reed has been exposed to the exam process for many years in the past. He agreed that each year gets significantly harder as the classes become more demanding, but his ways of studying seem to balance his stress significantly. When Reed was asked how long he spends studying for exams, he answered, “the entire weekend leading into exam week.”  He shared that the best way that he has found to alleviate the natural stress going into his exams, is to prepare for them in a comfortable and quiet atmosphere. “I study old tests, quizzes, and notes in a quiet room, free from distraction. I do take a lot of necessary breaks though.” Reed is feeling most nervous for his AP Chemistry exam, for that is the class he has the hardest time with. His way of studying is leading him into exam success, and allowing him to learn which ways of studying will benefit him best.

After being interviewed, Sophomore Caleb Choe seems to be feeling nervous but not too overwhelmed with stress as the week of exams approaches. “I am feeling most nervous for my AP US History and Honors trig exams, which happen to fall on the same day,” says Caleb. “I am certainly feeling way more nervous than I was last year.” Caleb’s method of studying for exams seems to be the most common way that most students are studying. This method being to simply just review all of their class notes, study guides, and past tests. It was interesting to hear multiple students repeatedly express the importance of studying “in a quiet room.”

Junior Ben Casey feels most stressed this year than he has any other because “your grades actually matter a lot for college this year, which makes everyone more nervous.” Ben explained that in order for him to not overthink the subject too much, he studies the night before each exam. With this, Ben expresses how he feels nerves, no doubt, but he handles them in the best way for him. He likes to think of the fun things he can do when he is finished with his exam; something to look forward to. Ben looks forward to either going to Chipotle or going fishing right after his exams are over for the day as a way to clear his mind and decompress from his stressful day.

Lastly interviewed was Tommie Pope, also a junior at Cape Henry. He ranked himself as a definite 10 on the scale of procrastination. “ I study the week before for about an hour a day,” he shared. His views on the environment to study in were pretty much the same as his peers. Tommie expressed how the exam that he feels most nervous for is history because there is a writing portion that he feels may cause him trouble.

Altogether, stress plays a great factor in each student’s life at this time of year. It is the way that each individual handles it that is most interesting. Each student is different and should abide by his or her comfortable study habits. Whatever methods make this “joyful” time of the year a little less stressful, the individual should do just that! The holidays are right around the corner!