The Cardinal Times Spring 2021 Issue

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FEATURES The Cardinal Times, SPRING, 2021 • PAGE 5

Lets Talk Mental Health: Mental health and academic



Whether online or in-person, Lincoln’s

academics come with a great deal of pressure.

Students have not attended in-person

classes since March of 2020; however,

when we were in school, the academic

strain that we were under was apparent.

It was not uncommon throughout my

high school career to walk down a hallway

and see students crying over a grade or panicking

over a test. Lincoln students have become

so desensitized to the academic strain

that they are under that no one even batted

an eye when they found themselves, or

their peers, crippling under the pressure.

So let’s talk about it. I think that it is important

to recognize what this hypercompetitive

academic atmosphere is doing to

our health emotionally, mentally and even


Let’s talk about how academic pressure

affects our emotional health.

School environments tend to promote

the idea that a student’s worth is in direct

correlation with their academic standing.

This causes students to associate the content

of their character with the letter grade

that they see on the paper. This mindset

can be extremely detrimental to their emotional

health. Pressuring them to excel in

their academic performance by pushing

On Reading



Gabby Shaffer is a junior at Lincoln. Her new

column will focus on the Romance Book Club at

Lincoln, as well as the joy that many people find

in romace novels.


I first began reading romance because of

Lincoln librarian Lori Lieberman. She recommended

a book called Again, But Better.

I read this without knowing it would spark

my interest in romance novels.

From that point on, I devoured almost

anything I could get my hands on.

This love of romance novels (the ever-so

reliable happy ending, the swoon-worthy

moments and everything in-between) has

themselves far beyond their limits will not

help them to grow into emotionally mature


“This causes students to

associate the content of

their character with the

letter grade that they see on

their paper.”

~ Gracie Pixton


only flourished during the pandemic.

Because I enjoy the genre so much, I

started the Lincoln Romance Book Club

with the help of Lieberman in early 2020.

We wanted to share romance and destigmatize

the genre at the high school level. I

ended up absolutely loving the genre and

club, and it’s been one of the best experiences

and decisions I’ve made.

The main purpose of this column will

be to discuss various topics relating to the

“We wanted to share

romance and destigmatize

the genre at the high school


­~ Gabby Shaffer


romance book world. Many people judge

romance as “trashy” or not as good as other

genres and carefully avoid reading anything

classified as romance. My hope is to

begin to demonstrate the joy that this genre

brings to so many people.

The pieces in this series will include

book recommendations, reviews and my

thoughts on the goings-on of the romance


I know that each person has a different

taste in books. I get that. If I can get one

person to read a romance novel after reading

my column, I have done my job!

Academic pressure also affects our mental


Stress and school are highly intertwined.

There is a lot expected of high school students.

I know many who have had to balance

sports, a job, IB classes and maintain

a social life. This expectation to do it all and

to do it all perfectly can lead to a lot of anxiety

and stress. According to the Pew Research

Center, 70% of teens say that anxiety

and depression are major issues in their age

group in the communities they live in.

The intense hypercompetitive nature

within the Lincoln community can also affect

our physical well-being.

According to the National Institution of

Mental Health, overwhelming amounts of

long term stress can have detrimental physical

effects on the body. Prolonged stress

can cause damage to the immune, digestive,

cardiovascular and sleep systems. This

can lead to digestive issues, headaches,

sleeplessness, sadness or irritability. When

students are experiencing these negative

side effects of stress, it becomes difficult for

them to do well in school. When it is difficult

for them to do well in school, they become

more stressed. Do you see the vicious

cycle that we have created?

Many within the Lincoln community

that are striving for academic validation.

As college admissions continue to become

more selective and tuition prices continue

to rise, students are trying harder in school

now more than ever. This creates a toxic Gracie Pixton is a senior at Lincoln. Her new

environment in which students are trying column will focus on the impacts, support and

harder and harder and receiving less and experiences of mental health in our community.

less recognition.


Teachers should not be discouraging students

from failing in a classroom setting.

should be just as much about developing

As strange as that sounds, failure is what

students into emotionally mature adults as

leads to the most growth. We need to take

it is about helping them to succeed academically.

the pressure of students to succeed at every

academic challenge they take on. School

Looking forward to

life after Covid


The Coronavirus has taken over our lives for over

a year now, so students reflect on the things they

are hopeful to do again soon.

Graphic by Holden Kilbane

From buffets to handshakes, COVID-19

has taken away so many aspects of the life

we all considered normal just 12 months

ago. As vaccines start rolling out to the

public and the conclusion of the pandemic

possibly seems within reach, it is hard

not to look forward to getting back some of

the things we lost. Members of the Lincoln

community are joining in the anticipation

of a return to the things we love.

For Sophomore Aarav Shah, he will be

looking forward to reuniting with his family

across seas.

“I really want to be able to go to India,”

said Shah. “Almost all of my family lives in

one city there.”

With that family over 6,000 miles away,

it has been tough to maintain his relationships

for the duration of COVID-19.

“I feel like I’m losing my bond with them,

and I can’t wait to recreate that connection

when I finally get to see them,” said Shah.

Shah is not the only one patiently awaiting

the opportunity to see family when the

pandemic allows it. Travel restrictions and

quarantine policies have restricted family

visits in millions of households. Many are

looking forward to seeing family members

that they have missed for so long when it is

safe to do so. Sophomore Trevor Dix is one

of those people.

“My family used to come up from [Corvallis]

for Thanksgiving and Christmas and

not having them there has been hard,” said

Dix. “Hopefully we can go down and see

them more soon.”

Dix is also excited to do more simple

things when the pandemic is under control.

“It sounds [basic], but just walking downtown

with a group of friends is something I

am looking forward to,” said Dix.

For Dix, visiting local businesses and establishments

is something he can’t wait to

do. Similar to Dix, English teacher Barbara

Brown can’t wait to go and visit some of her

favorite stores.

“[I am looking forward] to going to thrift

stores again!” said Brown. “I used to go with

my daughters, or my friends, or myself.”

Continued on Cardinaltimes.org

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