It would be safe to assume that one of the only boarding schools in New England without Saturday classes would have few stressed students. However, this does not seem to be the case. Perhaps Deerfield’s workload is drastically greater than that of other schools, or perhaps stress is relative and, as Peer Counselor Daniel Rivera ’13 suggested, “You can control your own stress level. Everybody’s stress level is different because we’ve all had different experiences that influence our ability to deal with stress.”
Peer Counselor Elana Van Arnam ’13 believes “You can complete your Deerfield experience with less stress. It’s the way you approach Deerfield life that matters.”
Eliza Mott ‘12 thinks that a Harry Potter week at Deerfield would be a creative way to reduce winter stress. “Every student would be assigned to a house, and teachers would give out points to students in class.”
Rivera encourages everyone to give hugs, read a book, or watch a movie when stressed.
“A lot of people like doing different things. There isn’t one solution for everyone,” Van Arnam added.
Students have no trouble inventing activities to distract from stress and schoolwork, including winter massages, Peer Counselors, Cookies and Cocoa, dress-down Fridays, and no Tuesday and Thursday sit-down dinners. However, some feel that no matter what measures the school takes, it all boils down to the seemingly insurmountable piles of homework that fatigue students.
Van Arnam mentioned that one way to solve this problem would be to enforce the “45 minutes of homework per class” rule, which many teachers seem to ignore. Rivera agreed, “Teachers should actually give 45 minutes of homework, because it can be too much at times.”
Van Arnam believes that “Deerfield is a high stress environment, but for good reasons. To change too many things would be to change the vital aspects of Deerfield.”
Though aware that the rigorous daily life at Deerfield causes stress, she still concluded, “There are little things that the school could change, but we’d see more results if students change their approach to Deerfield.”
Rivera’s New Year’s resolution is to “do the best I can up until 11 and then whatever I can’t do just doesn’t get done.” He added, “Use your time wisely. If you don’t do any work during the day, that’s your own fault.”
“Stressing is a waste of time and energy. You can either work on what you’re stressing about or take a nap,” said Caroline Bewkes ’12.