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Dear high schoolers,

These four years of your life are not quite like the movies. There isn’t that clique that wears pink every Wednesday. Most basketball teams don’t sing at practice. And I doubt that Saturday detention students form clubs in their spare time.

High school is a totally different species now. Although there aren’t any Plastics or a Sharpay Evans roaming the halls, there’s something way worse controlling our high school lives: stress.

There’s the fear of failure on your last physics test. Those friends that always have some drama you need to deal with. The College Board that drives us insane as we anxiously wait for SAT scores (I swear their website crashes just to mess with us). That research paper you haven’t started that also happens to be due tomorrow. Not to mention trying to get some sleep, dealing with a new zit, getting that cute kid in your class to notice you, and, worst of all, prom-drama.

Trust me, we’ve all been there. And, unfortunately, we can’t pull a Ferris Bueller and total our best friend’s Ferrari to relieve stress.

So what are we to do to maintain our sanity?

Remember this: it’s ok to not be ok.

It may seem like everyone has it all together, but I promise you, that is not the case.

Whether you’re the president of four clubs or you just can’t seem to grasp chemistry, we all crack. No one (not even Marty McFly) is perfect. We all have those days when nothing seems to go right, when you just want to stay in bed with some popcorn and two seasons of ‘Friends’ to binge-watch.

You may think that you can handle it, but high school can be too much for anyone to deal with.

So, why is it a big deal to ask for help?

Answer: it’s not.

We’ve all needed some help at one point or another. Admitting that you are overwhelmed may be out of your comfort zone, but there’s no reason not to. Putting your pride aside to benefit yourself shows true courage and strength.

Asking for help can be as simple as meeting for weekly coffee vent-sessions with your friends—I swear grande chai lattes and a good listener work wonders—or taking that much-needed mental health day.

If you want an expert opinions, try a therapist (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!) Want to stay anonymous? Try stress hotlines. No one knows, and there are experts constantly available.

So, next time you’re feeling stressed: Breathe. Take a break. And remember that it’s ok to not be ok.

Sincerely yours,

Julia, High School Student, SPTS Youth Council Executive Leader