Handling Midterm Stress the HIP Way

Iris Lee, Student Life Editor

 The holiday season is finally just around the corner. The rows of Christmas lights swamping front lawns and the taunting fragrance of cookies flooding through corridors has every student drooling with anticipation. However, before the students at Pembroke Pines Charter High School finally dive into the festive cheer, there’s still a dreaded week that lies ahead: midterms week. With long hours of studying, it’s easy to lose yourself to the stressful implications of exams. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself and your mental health.

   On Wednesday, December 7th, the homeroom bell cued hundreds of students to swarm the River of Grass theater. Rows of seats were filled with PPCHS juniors, still not fully awake from their morning slumber. Students were delivered a powerful presentation on the importance of effectively managing stress and anxiety during high school, acting as a barrier against holiday burn-out as winter break approaches. 

   However, the recent assembly isn’t the only method PPCHS has incorporated into their mental health awareness sector. Starting in November, the Health Information Project at Charter, also known as HIP, began their biweekly presentations to the new freshmen. In order to effectively teach incoming high school students about prevalent health issues, schools in South Florida have started to shift away from the traditional teaching model towards peer instruction. “Our goal is to create an innovative and impactful way to educate high school freshmen about physical and mental health. The juniors and seniors of the school… go in every week and talk to these kids about a new health topic. Even if we can help one kid and make a difference in their life, that’s more than enough,” says senior and HIP President Asra Khan.  

   In recent years, the percentage of high school students battling with mental health issues has skyrocketed (CDC), which is why it’s crucial for schools to be implementing awareness to promote academic progress and a safe environment. According to Asra, “I think that mental health has gotten so much more important after COVID has made such a negative impact on many of our lives. Social media has also made it a lot worse for teenagers, so the more we spread awareness about it, the faster we can break generational stereotypes regarding mental health.” 

   Around exam season, students generally expect to hit an annual mental low–it seems inevitable. However, by incorporating effective studying measures tailored to you, this doesn’t have to be the case. People learn in different ways at different paces, and selecting the most effective way to study and cope with stress can be a life saver. “Take everything one day at a time, and try to limit procrastinating. It’s really important to make time for yourself, because grinding too much can be exhausting. Set up a schedule or organize yourself in a way where you have free time, and try not to stress too much,” expresses junior Carlos Montesdeoca. 

   Finding the sweet spot in between the delicate balance of studying and stress can be difficult. However, it’s important to remember that you know yourself best. “Have confidence in yourself, because you know more than you think you do,” says junior Orion Taleon. Don’t lose sleep over the what-ifs and could-bes. Although it may contribute towards your feelings of preparedness, it actually does the opposite: losing sleep can significantly hinder your performance and backfire on the day of the exam (KQED). “Sleeping enough is vital because memory storage happens overnight. So, it’s actually better to study less and sleep more,” says Ms. Alongi. Overall, although exams are important, your wellbeing should always be prioritized. Best of luck on your exams, and have an amazing winter break!