Home 21st Century Journalism Humans of OHS Coping with stress in high school

Coping with stress in high school

“Probably the happiest moment of my life was when I found out that my mom was cancer-free.” (Photo by Francesca Lewis)

This article is a part of the Humans of OHS project, which involves a series of stories
about the faces and perspectives that often go unseen at Oswego High School. All articles were written by students in Ms. Hands’s 21st Century Journalism class. Additional articles in the series will be posted here

At 2 a.m., most high school students are still sleeping, but for senior Megan Korhorn, this is the time when she wakes up to finish her homework. About an hour and half later, she is back in bed, trying get every minute of sleep she can. Going to sleep for a few hours before waking up in the middle of the night to finish homework is just one way Korhorn tries to manage stress.

“There’s a lot of stress with school and sports and family that happens all the time,” Korhorn says. “It kind of just becomes a normal thing.”

“Probably the happiest moment of my life was when I found out that my mom was cancer-free.” – Megan Korhorn

Almost all people deal with stress in some shape or form every day. For high school students especially, it can be difficult to manage the changes of growing up, on top of dealing with school and home life. Recently, many different types of coping methods have been becoming more popular to a wider variety of people. These coping methods are helping many high school students all over learn to manage their stress in a healthy way that works for them.

Daniel Goleman, author of Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, says that “We pass emotions back and forth all the time, as part of every interaction we have with another person.” This passing of emotions is how other people’s problems can become our own problems or our own stress quite easily. Often times, if someone who is close to us is dealing with an issue, the weight of it is put on our shoulders as well.

When Korhorn’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, her whole life changed. Korhorn now had significantly more jobs and chores to manage at home, along with school work and worrying about her mom.

“During that time, I kind of had to take over a bigger role in the house, like making dinners and cleaning and doing all that and having to balance it with homework and going to see my mom,” Korhorn says. “It definitely took a toll.”

Other people’s problems can become our own problems or our own stress quite easily. Often times, if someone who is close to us is dealing with an issue, the weight of it is put on our shoulders as well.

These kinds of family situations can cause a great amount of stress and uneasiness on all people in the home, especially children. According to the UCLA Center of Integrative Oncology, children whose parents are diagnosed with cancer are more likely to experience increases in general levels of distress and anxiety.

Today, Megan’s mother is 100-percent cancer free. Throughout the journey of Megan’s childhood and dealing with different family situations like her mom’s cancer and treatments, she has learned many new ways to cope and deal with stress.

“I like to watch movies and TV shows that kind of help me get out of what’s happening in my life and what’s going on in reality,” Korhorn says. “ kind of take me to a different place and think about different things.”

Along with using her own methods, different teachers and authority figures at OHS try to help students out by teaching them about different ways to cope with stress.

“Mr. Cann and Mrs. Verlee …helped us out with balancing what we need to do,” Korhorn says. ”Kind of like, just keeping us on a good schedule that wasn’t too overloaded and just making everything a lot easier to take in.”

It can be very difficult for high school students to figure out which style of coping, or even how to cope at all, is right for them. With help from family and friends, a little support can go a very long way.

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