School is excessively mentally exhausting. I was able to relax and feel happy during the summer, but those feelings dissipated the moment I stepped back onto the campus. I cry almost every day because of stress from schoolwork and frustration with myself for not being good enough. I’m well aware that it will only get worse as the workload becomes heavier and the material increases in difficulty. Even though I feel like I’m drowning in an ocean of stress and anxiety, there are three main ways I cope with school: ballet, being around good friends and listening to music.
First, ballet. Ballet is my main way of escaping school. Going to two-hour long classes five days per week takes up a lot of time, and that is not including the four to five-hour-long rehearsals for performances like the Nutcracker or private lessons for competitions. Although this activity eats up my time, it is all worth it because I do not think about school one bit. For two hours five times per week, I have the opportunity to feel free from the immense pressure school puts on me. Aside from the bruised toenails, blisters, and aching muscles, ballet feels euphoric. Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of cleanly landing five pirouettes or performing on stage in front of hundreds of people.
The second way I cope is by being around friends who I know genuinely care about me. I vent to them on a daily basis about my troubles. We go back and forth, complaining about different subjects. One person talks about her overload of English work, another expresses her annoyance with her chemistry teacher who does not teach the class how to do anything, and I rant about how much I loathe AP European history. They listen to me and I listen to them, but more importantly, we understand each other. They understand my feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. They empathize with me instead of invalidating my emotions, like what I have experienced when confiding to other people about these troubles. I always feel more comfortable when they are around and we have a lot of fun whenever we’re together.
The last way I handle the strains of school is by listening to music. It gets me through the six hours at school and three to four hours of homework/studying. Tomorrow X Together has kept me sane since the beginning of this semester. My headphones practically live in my ears at this point. I can happily watch paint dry if I have music. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker makes studying more entertaining and enjoyable. Quality music has the power to change anyone’s mood. I could be on the verge of tears because of stress but if “Ghosting” by Tomorrow X Together starts playing, I would cry from the joy that the song brings me.