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Busy schedules lead to stressful lives

I looked up “stress” in the dictionary the other day. After reading several definitions for the one-syllable word, I finally came upon the fifth and the one that I was looking for: “A state of extreme difficulty, pressure, or strain.” Obviously Webster was never a teenager, otherwise the fifth definition of stress would have definitely been first.Experts say that people, in general, are more stressed than they were 50 years ago. I don’t know how they can measure this, but the statistic is pretty easy to agree with. Not only do we have the constant threat of terrorism looming over our heads, accompanied with red, yellow, orange, green, maroon, opal, and lavender alerts, but we are constantly bombarded by the television with stories of things we ought to be afraid of (like catching the flu from chickens in China). People walk through life not trusting their neighbor, not liking their job, complaining about bills, spilling their coffee, and forgetting to smile. Their kids see it all. From an early age we witness how people act under pressure. Then we grow up and have to deal with it ourselves. Even years of seeing our parents and other adults stressed cannot help us cope. And I’ve got bad news: Stress happens to everyone.As teenagers we’ve got more than our share of things to fret over. This includes up to four classes every single day, sports practices, lunch meetings, CMC classes, play rehearsals, choir/band auditions, weekend games, speech meets, community service work, regular jobs, homework, college applications, scholarship applications … not to mention things like untimely pimples, worrying about weight, disagreements between friends, boyfriends, parents or siblings, high gas prices, gossip, and the like.When I was talking to some friends, who are already in college, I asked them how the stress is different from college to high school. They replied, “There’s so much more to do in college. There’s not as much busy work; it’s all about reading and bigger projects. That means there’s a lot more to worry about. Your grades are on the line.” So I wanted to know how they deal with stress. Both of them chuckled and said, “You find little things to distract yourself with, like hobbies or exercise. You make your own fun. You meet people. You laugh a lot. It’s all part of the experience.”Everyone has their own methods of dealing with having too much on their plate. Personally, I like to go outside. Taking a run alone or sitting quietly by the river helps me forget about my crazy schedule for a short time and think about what really matters to me. It also helps to get some fresh air after seven hours inside a stuffy school building. Creative expression also helps me de-stress. Sometimes when I can’t handle doing or thinking about anything else, I sit down and play my guitar, or paint, or write poetry.The other night, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like I was being pulled in a million directions with no sign of relief. So, I put away my homework and put on my pajamas. Then after brushing my teeth, I collapsed into my bed. It was 10 o’clock, at least two hours earlier than I normally go to sleep. It’s amazing what a good night’s rest can do.The Student of the Month for November is Lyndsey Wesson. Lyndsey is a sophomore this year and a native of Glenwood. She says that she deals with stress by exercising and eating healthy. She is on the cheerleading squad and also runs track in the spring. Lyndsey is also involved in Student Council and Impact Environmental Club. Her favorite memory of high school is, by far, winning state in cheerleading last year (which was the cheerleader’s third time!). When Lyndsey is not cheerleading or leading the school through student government, she likes to hang out with her friends and her boyfriend, Jake, a freshmen at CU Boulder. Lyndsey also plans to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder after she graduates from high school in 2008.Lyndsey was nominated for Student of the Month by her math teacher, Ms. Treese. Ms. Treese nominated her because of her diligence in math and her ever-positive attitude. She says, “Lyndsey makes teaching a joy and brightens my day every time I see her. I am lucky to have her in my class.”Aside from school, Lyndsey is excited about getting her driver’s license this year. She contends that, “Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm.” It is a motto that she truly lives by. Congratulations, Lyndsey!With Thanksgiving Break this Wednesday, we high-schoolers will finally have five wonderful days to de-stress. I don’t know about you, but I’m going skiing!Cassidy Willey is a senior at Glenwood Springs High School.


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