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The student voice of Detroit's High Schools.

Is stress a normal part of being a teen?

If you talk to any high school student, most will tell you they have an incredibly packed schedule. For example, senior Marcus Morris, president of Detroit Cristo Rey’s National Honors Society. His morning starts with the sun still sleeping, as he quickly prepares a prayer for morning announcements. Strolling through the monotone melody of an average Tuesday, he collects “a full set of homework.” But homework is no longer the centerpiece of a student’s afternoon. After an already full day of school that ends at 4 pm, he volunteers at Centro de San Jose as a tutor. Then Marcus rushes to wrestling practice, only to go home and finish the set of homework. Finally, at “2 am, I take a shower, sometimes [I] eat in the shower, then go to bed.” He’s not the only one; most students would call that an ordinary Tuesday.

It’s certainly not new news for Detroit Cristo Rey Students. We, like many students in a college preparatory high school, are imposed with too long school days. As students in Detroit Cristo Rey, we persevere through the prolonged schedule, from 7:30 am to 4 pm. But for many, that is only the halfway mark of our day. The other half consists of extracurriculars, work, the responsibility of taking care of younger siblings, fulfilling community service requirements, tackling an abyss of homework, and, for the lucky seniors, filling out our dire college applications.

Don't even get me started with college applications, the epitome of fear of rejection. Just perfect for teenagers who are constantly trying to figure out our place in this complex society.

It comes to no surprise that when asking students their sleeping schedule, it ranges from 7 to 4 hours; 3 hours if you are taking more rigorous courses such as AP or IB. According to specialists at the Nationwide Children´s Hospital, teens should be obtaining exactly 9.25 hours of sleep. Those who sleep 9 hours we call the “the lucky ones.”

What’s does it mean to be a teen in 2018? Well according to the American Psychological Association, “teens reported that their stress levels during the school year topped adults' average reported stress levels.” They’ve also reported that “studies show normal children today report more anxiety than child psychiatric patients in the 1950's.” Is that what it means to be a teen? To carry a constant burden of anxiety, stress, or even depression?

Of course we’re going to have a high-stress level. We’re constantly pushing our limits. But why? Why do we put ourselves through stressful situations? At the end of the day, we can’t deny we like it. We like joining extracurriculars and we like helping others.


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