It’s difficult – maybe even impossible – to spend a day at Marlborough without hearing the word “stress.” Fighting the onslaught of tests, projects, quizzes, essays and, ultimately, the horror of midterms and finals, Violets are notoriously anxiety-ridden, and understandably so. The girls who come to Marlborough are smart and driven, and are looking for a place that will challenge them and push them to succeed – and a lot of success comes from the benefits of stress. Nobody enjoys the unavoidable all-nighters or last minute study sessions, but I believe that a somewhat stressful environment is actually an important factor in becoming a successful student, and eventually, a driven and balanced adult. Learning in an environment that does have an element of competitiveness pushes each individual to become someone who not only responds well to outside pressures but motivates herself from within.
Without pressure, motivation can be hard to find. Stress drives us to try hard and forces us to step outside of our comfort zone. Of course there comes a time we inevitably surpass our comfortable limits and anxiety levels become ulcer-inducing, but learning how to manage the pressure is an important life skill. The harsh reality is that it’s much better to learn how to deal with stress now than to first face it later on in life. In college, at a job, throughout life in general, no one is going to hold your hand and ask if you have too much work and how they can help you, so learning how to live without that kind of babysitting now will prove incredibly beneficial. While it may not always be pleasant, learning how to deal with our own desire to achieve at this age will help all of us in the long run.
Stress is personal, so trying to find a way to “fix” Marlborough’s environment and relieve the pressure in a way that suits everyone would be virtually impossible. In fact, here at Marlborough, a lot of the drive to succeed comes from within ourselves, despite constant complaints that teachers, friends and parents are the problem. This bounty of self-induced pressure means that no pair of students are going to have parallel experiences. What one girl finds perfectly manageable another might find intolerable. Some students panic over every tiny detail, while others remain extremely laid-back even when facing mountains of work. Complaining about the stressful nature of this school does nothing – in reality, most of the pressure is self-created and ultimately beneficial.
We Marlborough girls will most likely be stressed wherever we go, because we are the type of people who take our work seriously and feel a push to do our best. Going forward, we will know exactly how to manage all the inevitable responsibilities we will face without breaking a sweat. Stress isn’t fun, but I truly believe that it’s necessary.