Freshmen Struggle With Stress

by Jordan Murray and Aniyah Gardner

Last September, Shantel Audain was one of 120 new freshman who entered Frank McCourt High School. Within her first week, she felt inundated with home work – much more than she had in middle school.

“I was basically already stressed out on the first week,” she said.

Like Shantel, many other freshman experienced the same stress when going through the transition from middle school to high school. They needed time to get used to a new school, new people, and a new style of learning as well.

A recent study from McGill University found that one in every four high school students feels stressed while transitioning in their first year.

In addition to acclimating to the workload, freshmen must figure out their way around the school, to get to all their classes on time, as well as find their way to important places like resource rooms and the cafeteria.

Frank McCourt High School guidance counselor Ms. Morris describes the reasons behind this stress.

“Ninth grade students are trying to adjust to the expectations, with regard to both behavior and academics,” she said. “[They are also] trying to establish a self-concept….Some students are trying to reinvent themselves, while others are trying to continue what has already worked in the past.”

Although the majority of freshmen spent their first few months struggling to adjust to FMHS, many feel that the curriculum and social environment pushes them to make some great friends as well.

“I do feel like the FMHS community is right for me because the curriculum requires us to do a lot of group work, which gives us the chance to get to know one another,” said freshman Taylor Schulte. “It requires us to do a lot of presentations, which I hope will help me become more experienced in public speaking.”

According to Ms. Morris, there are many outlets within the school community to help students de-stress.

“Studies show that physical activity reduces anxiety and depression in teens by serving as a release for emotional energy. However, some students prefer art or music as an outlet,” she said. “Whatever personal stress outlet you choose to utilize, it is also important to have a trusted person to confide in.”

Taylor Schulte said FMHS is a great place to build social skills and reach important milestones in life.

“I also know that I have made many friends in this community that I wouldn’t give up for anything in the universe,” she said. “My favorite moment of every day is when I get to sit outside Humanities and talk and laugh with my best friends.”