An Overworked High School Student: Feeling Not Enough About Everything

An alarm clock rings at five in the morning, she gets up and starts her day. She continues the day with most of her classes being IB [international baccalaureate], she commits to both piano and horseback riding after school that takes up most of her afternoon. She gets home late at night and manages to get at least six hours of sleep every night.

Justine Lyons-Fang, an IBDP junior, who strives to succeed, but is met with the face of overworking and exhausting days from all she does. Often she puts a lot of effort into everything she does, she holds high expectations for herself.

“I think that out of everyone in my life I hold myself at the highest level of expectations, I’m a perfectionist so I think that everything about me has to be perfect,” Lyons-Fang said. “Putting me into a constant mindset of ‘I’m not working hard enough’ or ‘I need to be doing more’ I then push myself to do more or work harder in order to feel like I’m doing enough in my life.”

Lyons-Fang constantly holds herself accountable with the responsibilities she has. She sacrifices her personal time, meant for self-care, to become the best version of herself in school or within horseback riding. She puts so much effort into the things she does, she forgets the simple things in her life that are important.

“I am usually the reason for my own downfall because I overwork myself to the point where I forget simple self care like eating and I end up working myself to being sick,” she said. “But even then I’ll still continue pushing myself.”

As with many teenagers her age, there is a constant of dealing with being overwhelmed, causing anxiety and depressive episodes. Lyons-Fang leads her own self to a lot of pressure causing her to be overworked and overwhelmed.

“Whenever I feel the pressure of being overworked it’s when I’m at a high stress part of my life, usually when my anxiety episodes begin,” Lyon-Fang said. “It’s a very overwhelming feeling and is always very difficult to navigate.”

As she continues to try to navigate through her own feelings, there is constant pressure to be her absolute best at all times. She is one of many students who feel parental pressure in her academics and sports.

“My parents hold high expectations for me, mostly my mom. She has an idea of me being the most beautiful, most hardworking, balanced, and talented person,” she explained. “This can affect my self esteem a lot especially when the only validation that truly affects me is my mothers validation.”

With parental and personal pressure, Lyons-Fang is constantly burnout. She constantly doesn’t feel like she is meeting her own goals, so she continues to push herself more than she ever has. She feels as though being overwhelmed and burnout is so normalized in her life that she doesn’t even know how she can fix it. She tries to balance it all and try to get the basic necessities that every teenager would need, but sometimes that’s hard for her.

“I just make sure that I get the minimum amount of necessities needed for example eating, sleeping, sometimes water, and sometimes working out. I have to have a balance between school and everything at home, I simply do not have a choice,” Lyons-Fang said. “If I was unable to balance the two in a moderate way then everything would fall apart and I would never be able to do anything at all.”