Talking with Ms. Hamlin, Wellness

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Q: Since the school year has really started up now and people are beginning to take tests and do actual projects again, how should students, especially ones who are nervous, relay their stress es and inquiries to their teachers?

A: That’s a good question, first of all I want to say that all the teachers here are very supportive of that and they re ally genuinely care about students. So, I think the best way is to be very open in terms of communication and if you are feeling concerned, pull the teacher aside and just explain all of that. I think a lot of times students feel a little bit intimidated doing that with a teacher so, if that’s the case, I would say the best thing would be to go to the counselor first because the counselor can help moderate that and provide some background for the teacher and with the teacher, with the student.

Q: How do Seniors deal in a healthy way with the stresses of college applications, maintaining strong grades, and fulfilling their responsibilities with extracurricular activities?

A: On top of school work and AP’s you’ve got these applications, which take a lot of time. Figuring out your list is really stressful. Try o break things up into smaller chunks; remember to take things one day at a time. The whole process can look very overwhelming because you’ve got a year’s worth of classes that are intense, you’ve got maybe fifteen applications you’re working on, look at those due dates, then say, okay, I’m going to focus on this one application right now and then I’ll get to the next one. Baby steps, and trying to make sure you’re looking at it as smaller pictures as opposed to one big overwhelming mess. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself, eating well, working out, having time for fun. See your friends to get that balance.

Q: How should freshmen get acquainted with this higher level of not only learning but also responsibility, as they are no longer as cared for as they were in middle school?

A: Definitely a huge jump from middle school to high school. There’s a lot more adults telling you what to do in middle school, and in high school there’s a little bit more responsibility on the student. I would say make sure that you’re organized, having planners, communicating with teachers really well, going to office hours, reading emails, making sure you’re up-to-date. A good resource is big brothers and in CY, seniors that help out. They are really good resources for freshman trying to figure out how to balance everything. Those upperclassmen have been through it, and they can give advice and give feedback, so that’s a really good avenue.

Q: For Sophomores and Juniors, these are often the most important years college research and preparation. They must maintain a certain GPA. For those who feel suffocated and under pressure, what would help, and who at Loyola could make them feel less anxious?

A: Yeah, definitely, stressful times, grades are important, and there are more AP’s are available during those years, and there’s some pressure there to take those. First of all, take the AP classes and subjects that actually really interest you because if you’re taking an AP class that is not really something you care much about, you’re just taking it for the college process, and it’s much better to put that effort into a subject that you really like. That would take a lot of the stress off. I would say the other piece too is again counselor, counselor, counselor. They are so good at knowing what schools are good fits for all of you. They are really knowledgeable about what you need to achieve that and they can reassure and explain that you’re on track, don’t worry about it, we know kind of your goals, your long-term goals. They really help you back down to earth because you can overthink and overthink.

Q: If one is so stressed that it begins to affect home life negatively, what recommendations do you have for speaking to parents? Do you believe that parents should try to recognize and understand this stress?

A: The one thing to know is that you can control you, but you can’t control necessarily how someone else is going to react, so just focusing on how you’re going to say it, what you want to say, using “I” statements is really helpful. Instead of something like, “You always do this to me and it makes me totally stressed out and that’s a problem,” say, “I’m really stressed out when this happens.” There’s a difference because you’re not putting the blame on the other person, and that’s going to make parents a little more open to hearing about it because they are not getting directly attacked. The same thing with teachers. There is a chance maybe that they won’t want to take it as seriously, or they think that you’re just a kid, you don’t really know. That could happen, but I think you also have a lot of resources here at school. You’ve got teachers to talk to about stress, you’ve got counselors, you’ve got me, and I can help connect to therapists, professionals outside of school. Try coming to talk to us. We can usually explain things to parents in a way that helps get them on board.

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