Especially at this time of year (and for seniors of course), there seems to be an ovewhelming amount of stress for students. Many people find that they have three tests and two quizzes in one day, two projects and a paper due the next, and so many other commitments in between. What many people must acknowledge is that to overcome stress, it doesn't necessarily mean you need to lower your expectations for yourself or "give up," but instead you need to change your perspective.
We often categorize successes by physical awards, an oustanding transcript, or other measurable means. In reality, if we alter our perspective and our drive, the emphasis can be placed on something intangible and alleviate this source of stress. The ultimate goal for many students tends to be to get in to a specific school, or their "dream school". This goal for some serves as a strong enough push towards achievement and success, but for most the goal appears daunting, intimidating, and unreachable.
I challenge you to strive towards being a certain kind of person: generous, innovative, courageous, diligent, compassionate. When you shift your focus from where you want to go to who you want to become, the stress dissipates while the focus and dedication grow. Ultimately we have minimal control of where we will go to college, and perhaps even of what job we will have- but what that we can affect and work to mold are the qualities that we strive to embody and the values by which we intend to live. Focus less on standardized tests, and more on your outlook on life. Spend more time developing your character, and less time worrying about a bad quiz grade. Recognize your accomplishments and outstanding qualities instead of dwelling on your idiosyncracies. Realize that you are resilient, thoughtful, dedicated, and completely unique. When you feel overwhelmed, remember these traits that define you, and hold fast to the person that you aspire to be– independent of the factors that are not representative of who you are.