First Semester at SHS Sees an Uptick in Stress Rates

Student vaping habits contributing to additional stress among SHS students

Colleen Secaur, Staff Writer

With each new year of high school, there comes a host of stressors, and with Scituate High School’s first quarter completed, stress and anxiety over school-related issues have hit many SHS students hard. I sat down with school adjustment counselor Jen Lopes to discuss sources of stress and how students can manage these challenges.

As a junior, I expected upperclassmen to deal with the greatest amount of stress, from college applications to last-ditch attempts to raise GPAs to financial issues, but Lopes said that underclassmen take advantage of SHS’s stress management resources at least as much as their older classmates:

“As of 3 days ago, it was 40% freshmen, 18% sophomores, 12% juniors, and 28% seniors… I feel like this was different than years past–a higher percentage of freshmen coming forward. Early on it was like 68% freshmen!” 

While this influx may seem shocking to some, there is certainly a reason behind over ⅔ of visitors to the student adjustment office solely being freshmen. Lopes attributes a portion of this noticeable uptick to the troubles SHS administration has had with students JUULing, and the stressors that come along with it, including how to address friends who do it, not being comfortable reaching out for help, and feeling pressure from older students.

However, there have been preemptive steps taken to assuage JUUL-related concerns among both under and upperclassmen. Lopes is currently running a JUUL awareness group to assist both student users and students concerned about its effect on friends in family. Lopes said that “freshmen wouldn’t necessarily be put in with seniors, to avoid exposing them to things they don’t need to be exposed to.”

In spite of these concerns, there are definitely ways to alleviate stress for all grades. Lopes recommends “finding ways to find balance and take care of yourself.” She said this could include “finding balance in the courses you’re choosing, and finding what you’re interested in.: According to Lopes,  “Striking that balance and finding a way to prioritize in a healthy way and making time for yourself to hang out with friends or watch Netflix without feeling guilty.”