By: Simone Dunbar (Correspondent)
Not only are juniors and seniors weighed down by college stress, but freshmen and sophomores put themselves under a great amount of pressure as well.
To countless people, college is a top priority, therefore every grade, test, and course matters. Sharon High School students have varying experiences of stress and priorities throughout the duration of their school careers.
Freshman Chloe Nguyen says that she has already taken steps in her freshman year to embellish her college application. “My mom has always emphasized how important summers are to putting more on your resume, so I have tried to apply for a variety of programs in both dance and academics,” said Nguyen.
“I took the SAT in 8th grade and I only did it then because it wasn’t going to count on my record. [The point was] just to have the experience and to see what it was like, material-wise, and where I stood,” added Nguyen.
Nguyen says she puts a lot of stress on herself regarding grades and course selection.”I always want to keep up my grades and I think, in part, it’s because of stereotypes of being Asian,” said Nguyen.
“I think [self-inflicted and environmentally pressured stress] sort of go hand-in-hand. I only put so much pressure on myself because of the standards that I think exist beyond me,” said Nguyen. She says that the pressure of meeting or exceeding the grades of others is also present.
Freshman Evan Jaffe, says he hasn’t made definitive choices to step up his college application yet. “Although I have not taken any steps to solely ‘beef up’ my college application, I do believe that some of my decisions in how I choose to spend my time have this as an influence,” said Jaffe.
Jaffe adds that though he doesn’t solely think of how his choices will affect his future, it does have a place in the decision process.
Jaffe says his high self-standards push him to take every advanced-level class available, but he says he isn’t torn apart when he is recommended for a lower level. “I understand that everyone has different skill-sets. I will not get upset when I am not at the highest level course available, for I know that I do not need to be the best, one of the best, or anywhere near the best at everything I do,” said Jaffe.
“In the upcoming years, I may think about taking courses that would look promising on an application, but I think that it is more important to choose classes that I find interesting,” Jaffe added. He says that as a freshman, his courses aren’t his top priority right now, but they will be in later years.
Jaffe adds that his stress is a result of his environment and personal goals.“I think that my stress is formed from both my environment and within. I believe that my environment affects how I see myself as a student because we are constantly interacting with our peers,” said Jaffe.
Sophomore Yvette Nau says that the actions she is taking right now might be considered detailing her college resume, but that isn’t necessarily her intention. “I try to be involved in a lot of clubs, and do sports and extracurriculars outside of Sharon High School. I also try to do these activities for prolonged periods of time, to show that I am dedicated to my work, which I have been told looks good on resumes,” said Nau.
Nau says that a high percentage of her stress comes from the competitive environment in school. “In a world where students are constantly expected to stand out from the crowd, it can get really nerve wracking and stressful when you see other students doing better than you,” said Nau. She says that her life would be a lot more peaceful if Sharon were less competitive.
“During course selection, I also try to ensure that I have at least two courses that will be less stressful for me. For example, I take Accelerated Algebra II instead of honors, because math has always been a weakness of mine,” said Nau. She adds that it is important not to overburden yourself with work and keep stress levels low.
Senior Veronica Wallace says that she was very stressed in her freshman year regarding grades and GPA, due to the fear that she would not get into a good college. “I put a lot of stress on myself which I do regret, because I did miss out on a lot of opportunities,” said Wallace.
“It’s gonna come down the road for you to start worrying about college and your guidance counselors are going to help you a lot with it. There’s no point in stressing about it especially in freshman year, when you’re going to have years down the road,” said Wallace. She says that worrying so much about college in Freshman year, will ruin your entire high school experience and it isn’t worth it.
“Don’t stress about having the best grade [or] having the highest GPA. Still focus on academics, but have a little wiggle room,” added Wallace.
Senior Annie Yang says she partially regrets the lack of stress she put on herself about grades in freshman year. “My freshman year, I was actually really excited for college and I didn’t really think about how what I was doing could affect me my Junior and Senior years,” said Yang.
“I don’t totally regret it because, honestly, in Freshman year being stressed about college isn’t worth it, but still it’s important to know that what you do freshman year matters,” said Yang. She adds that as a freshman, college should not be your driving force and you should take time to do activities for fun before the stress piles on in later years.
“Do your best even if you don’t get the best grades. Knowing that you’re doing what you can so that when you look back on it you know that, yeah a C or a B isn’t great, but you tried your best and you did everything that you could and now there’s nothing that you can regret. The worst thing is to regret it later on,” said Yang.
Both Wallace and Yang say that they advise freshmen to have fun now before they truly have to worry about college.