Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Stress and Breaks by: Joe O'Such
April and May seemed to fly this year, and before I knew it, I’m sitting here with only 12 days remaining. Although these 12 days are filled with end of year festivities, there are regardless a multitude of stressors. Although mainly academic, spring sports also are a source of stress, sometimes directly other times indirectly. Sports can directly cause stress, as the preparation to the post season event are important and athletes have to do well to see their team succeed. There are practices that the athlete must attend, and even these are incredibly important and stressful. But all this takes time away from academics, which indirectly causes stress. Student athletes have less time to do work, which is a major stressor. Oddly enough for me, this stress often plays to my advantage. When I have to get work done, and I have just enough time, my work ethic skyrockets. In a sense, I will do better with a task when I have just one day, compared to a week to do it, if it can physically be done. A similar phenomenon is during shortages of food. People for the most part tend to share more when resources run low. The same will happen with my time. Some students can’t do this, and for them, the more time the better, but that time is taken away from sports.
This isn’t near the end though. This lack of time from sports is amplified by the fact that the end of year brings standardized test (In Virginia they are SOLs), finals, and AP tests. Of these, SOLs barely stress be out and demand little time while AP tests are major stressors and take a lot of time. Finals fall somewhere in the middle for me. SOLs are relatively easy, and most kids in my school pass with ease. I have not in fact studied for an SOL for two years, and I am one of many who feel this way. None the less, the fear of failing an SOL is in the back of everyone’s brain, which does stress me out sometimes. Finals are the next step up, but even finals vary significantly to me. They often require understanding of the subject on a much higher plane, but they also aren’t entirely composed of the multiple choice and technology enhanced questions of the SOL, which are easy. These finals may have short answer questions, essays, long multistep problems with multiply attack angles, and difficult multiple choice. Although it seems odd that multiple choice could be hard, AP World History this year showed me just how bad it could be. Several AP World multiple choice questions are set up where all the answers are correct, it just asks for the one that is most applicable in the situation, or which one is the most correct. This is sometimes chaotic. It’s not like how in math a number can be represented multiple different ways and there is a clear “simplest form”. It is rigorous to judge the magnitude of a historical happening. Although these sorts of questions do appear on AP tests, our history class answered these styled questions throughout the year, including the final. But the released AP test questions are worse. Forget the fact that the questions are hard, but doing it in a timed setting in a test that determines if that class counts toward college credit is awful. Now due to the College Board rules, I am not at liberty to discuss the entirety of this year’s test, but I can tell you this; Writing 5 essays and answering 55 multiple choice questions in under four hours is hard, yet somehow manageable. These tests require so much preparation in part due to the essays. An essay could ask about the Anglo-Dutch wars, and you could not even know which countries even fought in that war (by the way, it was the English and the Dutch). This year I only took AP World, which has the history of the entire world as its curriculum, starting from the big bang, all the way up to whenever the College Board sat down and wrote the curriculum.
All these stressors are why students need breaks. Classes shouldn’t be teaching things last minute, but should be preparing for the incoming doom of all the tests. But after all the pain and suffering, there is summer, which in a mere 16 days, I will enthrall myself into.