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Mythbuster: Stress at Harvard-Westlake

By Josephine ’21

The biggest misconception about Harvard-Westlake is that its students are all overworked, depressed, and functioning on an average of 4 hours of sleep. “How do you handle the pressure and stress of going here?” is probably the most common question asked of student ambassadors. The truth is that Harvard-Westlake is a challenging school. However, the distinction between a challenge and the impossible is alarmingly underrated. Additionally, it is not unique to our school for students to get stressed or experience the common late-night before a test. Regardless of where a student goes, school will be frustrating at times. This is especially true if you are looking for a valuable and rewarding experience like attending Harvard-Westlake. 

Harvard-Westlake asks a lot from us because they believe in our potential as well as the responsibility each of us will carry in this world. Various strategies guide us through, the most important being time management. Utilizing free periods, planning when to study, effectively studying by knowing when to stop and take breaks, and using your planner are all essential habits of successful Harvard-Westlake students. Every weekend, I like to write down due dates and events I know ahead of time. I also make lists of the goals I want to accomplish daily. As long as I’ve stayed organized and proactive, I have been successful at balancing school, hobbies, two to three sports at a time, a social life, and of course, sleep.  

Also, learning to rely on the abundance of support around you is crucial. I am fortunate enough to have had my family cheering me on, always. On tough nights, my mom always reminds me that many before me have made it and are happy they did. On top of that, I have very understanding friends and classmates who can validate any challenges I may experience. This manifests in the form of studying together during frees, the Peer Tutoring Program, and the Peer Support program. Lastly, we have access to some of the most knowledgeable teachers that are patient and willing to help so long as we take the initiative to ask. I will admit that when I first started Harvard-Westlake, I never asked for help because I wanted to be completely independent and self-reliant. I quickly realized that this strategy was impractical, unnecessary, and did not make me a smarter student. I eventually learned that it is ok, and even vital, to rely on these sources for support. They will help you minimize stress, increase balance, and set you up for success in and beyond Harvard-Westlake. 

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Tags: , Last modified: September 29, 2020