Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

Naomi Wang

Freshman Catherine Liu

Students—especially those in high school—know that academic work can be overwhelming, difficult to understand and downright stressful. Freshman Catherine Liu is no different, juggling multiple extracurricular activities with schoolwork.

Liu’s stress comes mainly from homework, studying and afterschool dance classes, along with pressure from her parents to get good grades. In terms of schoolwork, Liu finds that biology gives her the most stress because logic-based thinking is not her suite. “Any other class is easier to figure out than biology,” she said.

Despite her stress from schoolwork, Liu has found ways to cope with the challenges thereof. “If I finish one thing, I take a break, and if I finish another thing, I take another break,” she said. “Otherwise I lose my mind.”

Liu finds dance to be a source of pressure because of its vigor and inherent competitiveness. “Ballet teachers push you to your limits—sometimes even beyond your limits—and you end up feeling like [you] don’t want to do this,” she said. “[Ballet teachers] don’t show it, but they compare you to other [dancers].”

However, identifying the elements that create stress and managing them can be an effective way to reduce it. She also emphasizes the importance of having structure when getting tasks done. Liu uses a planner or calendar to plan commitments out. “I try to break down homework into pieces,” she said. “I get the main ideas and work [from] there. I leave the harder topics for the end.”

Being a freshman, Liu doesn’t think the stress will go away any time soon. She plans on continuing to find ways to work around difficult subjects that cause stress. “The next three years, I’ll be taking more advanced courses, so stress will continue to increase, [but] I’ll probably hire tutors to help me [learn the material] and relieve stress,” she said.

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