Through Struggle Comes Strength

High school students face many obstacles throughout their four years, but they’ve learned to properly navigate and overcome these challenges.


High school students are put under immense pressure and are expected to perform at high levels. So, they must learn to adapt. A balance in academics, athletics, and personal life is difficult for some students to find.

“There are so many new expectations each year, and how you set yourself up each year will not guarantee success next year,” senior Haley Rohrig said. “Find what works for you and find a good support system.”

Once this balance is achieved, stress can be lessened. Especially when students learn to lean on the people around them.

“I would suggest not putting so much pressure on yourself to do great because you will get burnt out eventually,” senior Kara Frahm said. “Make time outside of school to hang out with your friends and do things you enjoy.”

Prioritizing mental health is also very important for students. This can be hard to do while also trying to juggle sports, college applications, outside activities, a social life, and academics.

This constant juggling, though, is shown to help students develop their time management skills. Those students who are more involved in school activities and clubs often have a better grade point average than students who are not involved.

“I think there are times where being in activities does increase stress levels,” counselor Martha Dowd said. “But it forces you to learn how to keep track of things and keep up to date in school.”

Although students are all faced with different challenges outside of school, they are all required to still meet the same academic standards. For many, junior year is the most rigorous and brings the most stress.

“Junior year was probably for me, my biggest opposition because I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PCOS all within four months,” senior Piper Connelly said. “This was a lot to handle, so overcoming that on top of junior year was rough.”

Connelly got through this time by going back to simple quotes from one of her favorite childhood movies: Finding Nemo. She constantly reminded herself to “Just Keep Swimming”.

Life does not take a break when school gets busy. Many students are too familiar with this as they had to handle outside stressors and make time for school.

“My family dealt with cancer my freshmen year and my mom ended up passing,” senior Nathan Dull said. “I think that made me realize that I need to be able to adapt and be open-minded and not just think that there’s one straight path I need to follow.”

Dull and Connelly faced difficulties, yet they each persevered. Dull received a full ride scholarship to University of Nebraska- Omaha, and Connelly represented Nebraska at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation in Washington D.C. in summer of 2022.

Each student is dealt a different hand, and each comes with its own struggles and difficulties. For some, their biggest challenges came from combining the stress of sports with academics.

“Junior year was just a beast. There were so many AP classes, ACT classes outside of school, and tennis season,” Rohrig said. “It was a perfect storm for stress, but somehow I got through it and it got better.”

Rohrig describes a common experience among many.

“I had to quit swimming because I was having heart problems and asthma,” Frahm said. “Taking a step back was pretty hard for me since swimming was my life.”

While students don’t control the cards they are dealt, they can control how they react and respond to it. Some work through hard time by letting things go, enjoying time with others, or taking some moments for self care.

“I think it is important for students to find a really good support system around them,” Dowd said. “Just recognizing that students don’t have to do it by themselves and that there are people in their corner to help them during difficult times is key.”