In today’s world, being a highschooler can be mentally exhausting. Balancing academics, sports, extracurriculars, social lives, and family can put a lot of pressure on a teenager, and can be extremely anxiety-inducing. Going into my sophomore year, I felt like I could handle anything. I had gotten through my first year of highschool with great grades, new friends, and a spot on the Varsity Softball team. Slowly, however, I began to feel less and less confident in myself.
I had always been an overachiever when it came to school. I would consistently strive to get the best grades in the hardest classes and wouldn’t settle for anything less. I thought that this was a great quality of mine, until it started to affect my mental health. I started putting way too much pressure on myself, and felt like a failure anytime I didn’t live up to my own expectations, even if that meant simply getting a 70 on a homework assignment. I lost sleep to study for exams that I had already studied for all day long. My demand for success became unhealthy.
Much like my mindset in regards to school, I wanted my extracurriculars to represent the best possible version of myself. Again, I thought this was a good thing, until I started taking on more activities than I could handle. In the fall, I practiced club softball and played in tournaments every weekend. Come winter, I managed the boy’s basketball team at practice and games everyday, while doing conditioning for my own team. In the spring, I practiced softball for my highschool team for hours everyday. All year, I tutored younger students, coached elementary schoolers, and joined every honors society and club that I could. My days consisted of school and extracurriculars from 7am to 10pm, and homework from 10pm to 2am.
I noticed myself starting to feel anxious and overwhelmed, as if my life had become a never ending sequence of places to be and things to do. I didn’t enjoy softball anymore, I panicked before every test I took, and I hadn’t seen my friends in weeks. I told myself I was being crazy, and that I would power through it, just as I had done all my life. Finally, I hit a wall; I couldn’t handle it all anymore. My anxiety had taken over my life. I talked to my mom about my issues, and she helped me find a therapist. After a lot of hard work and self realization, I learned to balance everything in my life, ease my anxiety, and reduce my negative thoughts.
Looking back, I see how truly unhappy I used to be. I pressured myself to the point of breaking down. As a senior in high school, I do still feel stress and anxiety, but I have finally learned how to manage these feelings in a healthy way. All in all, it’s important to realize that the key to being a busy high schooler is balance. There is so much more to life than grades, and if you are so caught up in being perfect academically, you will miss out on all the adventures that life has to over. Being anxious is normal, but it shouldn’t take over your life.