Stress Levels at Bio-Med Science Academy

by Alyssa Cocchiola, Staff Writer

APRIL 2021- With due dates, state testing, and pressure to decide a career path in the midst of a pandemic, life for students can be stressful. A total of 102 students from grades 7-12 participated in a survey conducted by The Hive rating their stress. When asked to rate stress levels they experienced on a scale of one to ten, Bio-Med students answered an average of seven (with one being no stress and ten being extremely stressed).

After the results were recorded, it revealed that 89.2% of students were stressed because of school, and 56.9% were stressed because of mental health. 

Pictured Above is a graph representing the stress levels of Bio-med students.

In an attempt to reduce future stress levels, students shared ways that help them relax

“I give myself time to step away from my school work and responsibilities when I become overwhelmed,” Autumn Groen, a senior at Bio-Med wrote. “Some things I do to relieve stress are going on walks, spending time with my dog, and listening to music.”

She also noted that while being able to step away from her school work helps her de-stress, there are activities the school offers that help as well.

“Cyber Patriots has been a club that has helped me to step away from school assignments once a month, and although stressful at times due to its problem-solving aspects, it is a lot of fun to work through the images, chat with teammates, and eat good food,” Groen concluded. 

Virtual Versus In Person:

Out of the students that filled out the survey, only 21.6% were completing school virtually. When being asked if attending school in person was less stressful than attending at home, 74% of in-person students answered “yes.” Alternatively, exactly 52.4% of virtual students stated that being at home added more stress to their day. 

“I think it is more stressful,” Dakota Rennecker, an 8th grader, commented. “When you are in person you can go up to a teacher or friend and ask questions or show them problems you are having. When you are at home it is different.”

Communication was brought up frequently as a stressful part of virtual learning. With a lack of face to face communication and instructions, some students felt like it was more stressful with the only forms of communication being Zoom calls and emails. 

“You have to email your teachers which sometimes they can take some time to respond and when you do ask for help or are having an issue it is hard to show them or for them to understand your problem,” Rennecker continued. “You also can’t get much help after 4 pm and it makes me feel scared or anxious that I don’t understand what I am doing or I am going to do it wrong,” she concluded.

Haily Baer is a 7th grader who was virtual for the first half of the school year. During the second half, she switched to going in-person. She compared both her experiences and shared that virtual school added more stress to her day. 

“It changed my perspective a lot actually, ‘cause I used to love working at home; everybody loves being able to do whatever they want when they want to. But that changed after being so isolated from people,” she shared. “Being a social person who is stuck at home causes mass stress. You don’t have anyone to help you work, and you don’t have your friends. Now everytime we can go to the building, I make sure to go ‘cause no one wants to feel so lonely.”

While completing school work at home adds stress to some people’s days, others did not see an increase in stress caused by school. For some students, they noted it was beneficial for them to be able to work at their own pace. 

“It’s been less stressful for a few reasons,” Caroline Brunn stated. He is an 8th grader attending school virtually, and says that being at home does not add stress to his day. “A) I can take naps and eat food and stuff;  B) In all honesty, I spend a lot of time playing video games and not doing school so it’s pretty ‘chill.’”

“Either option comes with its own stresses,” Emma Aguliar, a 10th grade student completing school virtually, noted. “I do not think that attending school virtually is any less stressful than attending school in person. It’s just a different kind of stress. Attending school virtually comes with the stress of not knowing exactly what is going on inside of school. This makes communicating with people in school harder and more stressful.”

Just Dance Breaks

Dance parties are held in the commons as a fun way to help alleviate stress.

Lillian Ijoma is a junior this year and noted that she was often stressed about the future. When being asked about whether or not she thought it was more or less stressful to attend school in person, she responded “When I’m at home, it’s much harder to be motivated. Also, especially with math, when you actually have to learn instead of just completing projects or assignments, it’s so much harder to understand material when you can’t ask questions.” 

One thing that has helped her de-stress while attending school has been the Just Dance sessions offered at school. “When I’m at school, me and my friends can be stressed together and that’s very helpful. Also, Mino and Hisey hold daily Just Dance sessions in the commons and doing those with my friends are extremely wonderful and good.” 

When asked, only 23.1% of students attending school in person have attended the Just Dance Breaks are held after the last lunch period around 1:16 PM. Out of those students, 43.2% of people who attend felt less stressed afterwards. 

Students at Biomed Upper Academy participating in a dance party.

The dance breaks themselves were started by a group of sophomore students and now happen daily. Aidan Veney, a 10th grade student, helped organize the dance breaks by creating a google form where students had the opportunity to request songs and have them played. 

“I realized I really liked them so I tried to keep them going and keep people going to them,” he commented.

Along with enjoyment, they also provide him with a way to de-stress. “I look forward to doing them every day,” he explained. “It’s just like a little thing to look forward to every day. Especially with the hour and a half long classes, it can be a bit of a drag, so it’s nice to just have even a couple of minutes to do something else.”

Mindfulness Activities

Another way some students de-stress are through mindfulness activities. Mindfulness activities are anything that encourage someone to be aware of their senses and in the moment, like yoga or meditation. They can also be helpful for students to de-stress at home. 

Some students at Biomed participate in meditation or related mindfulness activities to help relieve stress.

“Meditation and yoga really help me center myself,” Emma Aguilar mentioned. “Mindfulness activities are extremely important for me. They help me stay composed during my daily activities whether that is implementing breathing techniques into my daily life or using the yoga I do to improve my soccer playing. “

Out of all the students who took the survey, only 7.9% of people regularly do mindfulness activities, while 42.6% never do. Opinions on mindfulness activities were split, but revealed to be calming for some students. 

“I think everyone can get some kind of benefit from things like meditation, but how much it helps changes from person to person,” Trevor Baldwin, a freshman, commented.

They also provide a way for in-person students to reduce stress as well.

Blessing Mupinga is a senior attending school in person and shared her thoughts on mindfulness as well. “I think that they are very helpful to give your brain a break and get some clarity and make conclusions about your life,” they said. “These may oftentimes influence you to change some of your behaviors to make yourself better so that you are able to partake in more eye opening, restful experiences.”

However, mindfulness is not for everyone. Sitting still and being in the moment can be more stressful for others, and can be harder to do if they are not used to them. 

For students like Grace Watters, an 8th grader attending school in person, mindfulness is not the most effective in relieving stress. “I don’t really understand them,” they said. “I’ve tried, but it doesn’t really work out for me.”

Other students noted that some forms of mindfulness are beneficial, but not all. 

 “I think they’re good but not something effective for me all of the time,” Skyler Earl, a sophomore, commented. “ If it’s something like meditation I can actually get more stressed because I have room to think about what’s stressing me out, but other things like yoga are better because they’re more active.”

Some students like Trevor Baldwin participate in baking to relieve stress.

Baking:

“It just isn’t worth it to be stressed,” Trevor Baldwin commented. He recommended finding a hobby in order to reduce stress. “Mine was baking. It is challenging and fun and the outcome is always something to be proud of.”

Trevor talked about the loaf he baked over the weekend. “The flavor was interesting to say the least. It was a strange recipe that didn’t need to be kneaded and it was very tasty, and goes well with soup or hot pepper cheese,” he said. 

For students, life can be stressful at times. Whether it is school, social life, public health, family, mental health, or career planning, there are ways that can help reduce stress.

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