The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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“Don’t worry I’m Fine”

Exploring mental health within the class 2024
Riley Shankman

The mental health of our graduating class has been put through the ringer. 

Right off the bat, we spent our freshman year isolated because of the pandemic. Our sophomore year was better, but recovering from a whole year in isolation is not easy. Junior year was our first “normal” year. No masks, our freshman year a distant memory.

Today, we are here, and we have one more obstacle to face: loss. 

Our graduating class is not new to loss; we have lost three classmates in the last four years, one of them our own. What should be a time for honors, awards, and celebration, is punctuated by another loss. 

To say the mental health of our students is in a fragile state is an understatement. While loss has much to do with this, there is a culture contributing to this that needs to be discussed. When asked the question “Are you okay?” the answer from most students would expectedly and unyieldingly be, “I’m fine”. 

Burying and running from emotions is an attitude many of us are familiar with, but shouldn’t be. 

Scrolling has only fueled this. When stressed, we scroll. When sad, we scroll. Even when slightly understimulated, we scroll.

 In my own experience, scrolling is a distraction from the emotions I don’t want to deal with. I scroll in hopes the tiny bits of dopamine will counter the waves of stress.

Especially at a school like South, where the culture for many is to submerge themself in honors and AP classes, finding help is almost never talked about. The reality is, when competing at such a high standard, stretching yourself thin is more common than not.  When stress starts to surmount one’s ability to handle it all, kids would rather vent there emotions, saying they’re “done” or want to “quit”, than take time for actual help. Even quitting the AP train never feels like an option. 

Although high school fostered much of who I am today and the memories I will take with me moving forward, much of it was spent with my mental health on the back burner. And, the effects of this are only starting to wear off. It’s second semester, and my brain still can’t seem to comprehend that my work here is finally done. Free time never feels like free time, it should be work time.

Post-South should be a breath of air, a time for taking care of our mental states rather than pushing it to it’s furthest extent. There’s no denying there will be new obstacles to face (ie. moving away for the first time, exploring new places and people, etc.), but approaching college should be different to how we ran high school. Mental health should be a non-negotiable, not a task to deal with later. 

Our mental health may be on thin ice, but if there is anything we can do for ourselves as a graduating class, it can be letting ourselves heal. 

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