The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

Overthink. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

I sat in a conference room in the Almy Library, adding the finishing touches to my Junior Profile this past April on a stressful Friday afternoon. At this point in the day, most everyone had already left school. I walked to the Commons at 4 p.m. to find out that the Insomnia Cookies gifted by the parent committee were already gone. I ran back to the library, feeling that my one-minute excursion to the Commons was too long of a break.

I returned to my eight pen-marked drafts turned onto separate pages. I read my piece aloud over and over, hoping to perfect each word. Soon, it was 4:48 p.m., and I stared at the confetti that Canvas was throwing all over my computer screen. I had submitted my work, yet the confetti had not brought me as much joy as I had hoped it would. I was proud of my work but did not feel like a celebration was in order. I knew I had done all I could, but I still felt somewhat dissatisfied. Shutting my laptop, I closed my eyes. I dropped my shoulders with a sigh, letting go of the rigid position my body had held for days. For the first time in a while, I felt relieved.

For most of my junior year, my mind was running constantly. In fact, school became one of the only things I could think about. Waking up, I would panic about the week’s projects or assessments. In-class discussions led to overbearing worry, often causing my heart to feel as if it would pound straight out of my chest. Ignoring the terror, I forced myself to speak in classes. Lunch became a chore, as spending time with my friends found itself at the bottom of my list of mental priorities. I had to re-run fake time calculations and scenarios in my head in case an assignment might take “too long.” Eating my lunch as quickly as possible was a gateway to spending half, if not more, of the remaining time working on that night’s homework. Even at skating practice, I would be gliding into a jump and thinking about today’s math lesson, or crafting future essay ideas, instead of focusing on how to prepare myself for landing. I was constantly distracted… by school.

When the Junior Profile finally came to an end, I still had APs to study for. My moment of relief quickly vanished with the thought of having to sit through the tests. As a student, the stress and demands of learning felt like a never-ending cycle. Of course, we were all learning and expanding our knowledge, but the purpose behind it just felt lost. I wondered how many of us were worrying about our grades instead of actually grasping class material. In fact, I don’t think juniors were the only ones struggling. Even in my previous years, each assignment piled upon the last, and I watched this past year’s sophomores and freshmen deal with their own stressors. For me, the norm was to suppress these feelings of burnout and continue to act as a perfect, high-achieving student—like I was on a mission of some sort.

I remember spending some time thinking about how it would all be over with summer: the three months of carefree days that all students look forward to.

In June, summer came, and although the first week was exciting, I honestly became sad when I couldn’t see my friends every day. As everyone went on vacation, I realized that I took the random conversations at our lunch table for granted. Now, August is almost here, and reality is hitting. September will start a whirlwind of new challenges for each grade, and my grade will face both classes and the dreaded college application season. I’ve almost reached the end of my academic hiatus, and summer still has not felt like a true break. Of course, some days are amazing: watching sunsets with your friends, singing your heart out at concerts, sleeping in, and eating ice cream–all the classic, carefree summer activities we look forward to all year. But I’ve also felt a lingering sense of obligation. The questions of what I should write my Common App about or when I need to start my summer reading dawn upon me. I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way during the summer and the school year.

In the coming months, I hope we can all find brief moments of time to unwind, for real, connect with friends, and carry with us that spirit of summer fun.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Vanguard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *