Stressed Out


Sitting on the floor of her bedroom with Mocha, her chocolate lab, junior Pacey Salzman stared at the incomplete chemistry lab sitting in front of her. She still had five other IB classes with homework to complete, meaning she would be up til midnight, as usual. She sighed before focusing again, trying to follow the schedule she had laid out in front of her.

Being an IB diploma student meant Salzman never had time to procrastinate. Her days may have started with drill team and ended with Marketing 1, but the middle contained everything from IB HL Math 1 to IB SL Chemistry 2. When she wasn’t making flashcards for her next chem test, she was practicing her 40 minute interactive oral discussion, or IOD, for English.

“There’s some days where I’m like ‘I’m just not going to do well today’ because I’m super stressed,” Salzman said. “I try to mask it at school to hold myself together and get through the day, but if I’m at home I unravel sometimes.”

Because of the pressure that Salzman was under, she had to find new ways to deal with her stress and manage her time well. She wrote out schedules in her planner that detailed her time after school, down to the half hour. She took what she called “brain breaks,” where she would watch an episode of Friends or cuddle with Mocha. And she tried not to freak out about every assignment, focusing on the larger tests and projects that took more time.

For Salzman, it was better to joke about her stress than to admit it got to her. She would snapchat her friends videos of homework she didn’t understand or joke to her parents about how she could only eat dinner for thirty minutes or she would mess up her schedule.

“I try to joke about it in certain ways just to help me get through it,” Salzman said. “But there’s a point where I reach that awkward middle ground between crying and laughing where I’m like ‘I can’t do this.’”

Salzman had thought about quitting. More than once. But her competitive nature and motivation to get into a good college kept her dedicated to her school work, even at 2 in the morning.

“I enjoy all my classes individually, but when I put them all together it’s a lot for the workload,” Salzman said. “It can get stressful, but I’ve always taken hard classes. I’ve never known anything else”