South students utilize various outlets of stress relief


Gwyn Skiles, staff reporter

Mindlessness, relaxation, leisureliness. According to sophomore Ella Prillaman, these words don’t come to mind when describing high school. She says whether it’s homework, deadlines, presentations or tests, everywhere one looks, there’s stress. However, students still manage to find free time to relieve stress in the cracks of their busy schedules.

Sophomore Yasmeen Mohammed-Rafee says she finds relief from her stress through writing poetry, a balance to her STEM-heavy schedule. According to Mohammed-Rafee, her inner feelings are expressed in her writing.

“There is something so liberating to the soul and the mind about writing your feelings,” Mohammed-Rafee said. “Sometimes I just need to get a piece of paper, spew my thoughts, even if they’re garbage … My best work comes from when I have an influx of emotions, so when I’m stressed, I produce the best writing.”

According to Prillaman, the pressure to do well in school is overbearing. Prillaman’s artistic side shines when she draws. She says that afterward she feels more stable in high school’s sometimes-rocky environment.

“The pressure to do well in school and get good grades intimidates me,” Prillaman said. “There is so much pressure to get [straight A’s but] drawing eases some of that stress. When I draw, I forget about everything else.”

Sophomore Chaeyeon Park says the time she spends on homework can be overwhelming. According to Park, reading, an activity that alleviates her stress, unfortunately must give way to homework many times.

“[During the day I have] school and [then] I have so much homework which makes me feel like I don’t have time to enjoy a book by myself,” Park said.

Although creative activities help some students relieve stress, others find the satisfaction one gets from strategic activities to give them confidence. Sophomore Justin Wrona describes this satisfying feeling through the strategic video games he plays when he is stressed.

“The video games I play are strategic which can be stressful for some people, but I find them relaxing,” Wrona said. “When you play, you are constantly struggling to gain power to succeed, and when you do, it feels amazing.”

Many people interact with others to free their mind. According to Mohammed-Rafee, being around other people gives her the energy she needs to overcome the stressors in her life.

“I’m a primarily extroverted person and [I’m] energized when I’m around people,” Mohammed-Rafee said. “Interacting with others helps with relieving my stress.”

Mohammed-Rafee describes finals week as being a time when students are the most stressed. She explains that there is an uneasy feeling at South, which in turn makes her anxious and more stressed about her own finals.

“Finals make me stressed,” Mohammed-Rafee said. “I need to keep my grades up and because the general aura of the school environment is highly intoxicating … Everybody is anxious [about their grades], and people spread this anxiety to [others when they’re] in their presence.”

According to Prillaman, some of her teachers are understanding of packed schedules. She acknowledges that some of her teachers want students to learn the material and not stress about grades as much. Prillaman recognizes the efforts of these teachers contribute to her stress relief.

“Some of my teachers have helped ease my stress,” Prillaman said. “For example, in my math class my teacher says that she cares more about [our learning than] our grades.”