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Stressing the Importance of Support

This spring, flowers aren’t the only things growing in Andover — the additional stress students feel from AP exams and SAT tests is in full bloom. Lately, students have been complaining about their amount of stress and the number of “L”s — short for loss, a term that’s synonymous for failures or setbacks — they are taking. While it is healthy to vocalize stress, excessive vocalization may exacerbate stress rather than alleviate it.

It’s not new that Andover is a stressful place. In a number of conversations I’ve had with friends, they always list the endless activities and work they have to do. While this week is particularly stressful, some of the worries I’ve heard are used similarly to currency. Instead of sharing and supporting each other, students compete with each other in terms of how many commitments they have.

Thus it becomes the norm to feel stressed in the Andover environment. It sets up a stereotype for students to think that they are supposed to be stressed at all times. Hence, this causes a sense of urgency in students who do not feel stressed. They might wonder why they do not feel as overworked as their peers. This behavior creates an environment of students participating in activities that they are not particularly interested in. They might partake in some activities just because they think that they have not been doing enough, leading students to overcommit themselves to different clubs and activities.

When they constantly vocalize only their struggles, students lose sight of the privileges and opportunities they enjoy in the Andover community. Students should build a more positive culture and environment. If a student is sad or feels stressed out, their friends should comfort and encourage them. Rather than competing with one another on levels of stress, their friends should share their own worries to show that someone else is going through the same thing as they are. Students should be able to support each other through stressful situations.

Just as students should support one another during times of stress, the same should be done during times of achievement, or “W’s”. Students should not be embarrassed to share when their hard work pays off. Even if a student tried their best and ultimately didn’t succeeded, they should acknowledge the hard work they have put into a task. We should live in a community where students should support and congratulate others for their achievements.

Students should definitely still vocalize what struggles they are going through. Their problems are legitimate, and if they need support and comfort, they should vocalize their problems to loved ones. Students should not talk about their stress just to showcase the significant amount of work they are doing.

As a campus with only about 1,150 students, Andover could become a tight-knit environment of support. Hopefully with this positive mindset, the entire community can support each other and pull through these stressful times.

May 5, 2017