Tip O' the Horn
The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


Photo by Teddy Zitron
D'var Torah
March 15, 2024

Are You Stressed?: A Dive into the Mental Health and Difficulties of Second Semester

Photo by Gabrielle Sosland
Students’ workload piles up throughout the second semester, creating a stressful environment and reduced free time.

As we quickly dive into the second semester, school begins to increase in difficulty and stress as our extracurriculars get longer, and our work gets harder. Longer days, including more homework, can have a strong impact on students’ mental health. 


While competition season starts for dance, I see longer nights in my near future. In an interview with HBHA freshman Ruby Sokol, she said, “Dance is always busy, and it’s something I’m used to…it’s been year-round since I’ve been doing it, but this year because I’m in high school now, basketball is five days a week instead of two days a week and that’s a lot.”


Sokol participates in many extracurriculars: competitive dance, basketball, B’nei Tzedek youth board, BBYO Board (Saadia chapter) as the Shlicha, and HBHA’s student council. She also clarified that though her schedule may be busy, “[Extracurriculars] taught me over the years how to manage my time, and the saying, ‘busy people make time’ is the truth… I’ve learned how to… use the breaks that I have wisely.”


Extracurriculars are important in building character. Not having the opportunity to express oneself in ways they feel comfortable can be limiting, and extracurricular activities allow students to branch out and expand themselves and their personalities while learning new things. 


Sophomore Ethan Hobbs voiced that basketball can work as a stress reliever after a long day at school. “It’s always nice to get a workout in after school, it’s a good stress reliever from sitting around all day at a desk to getting to move around and be with friends in a non-school serious setting,” he said. 


Hobbs participates in basketball, a boys “shiur” class with Rabbi Berel Sosover, and flag football with some of his friends throughout the week. “As the second semester ramps up, it will be more difficult to keep up on the workload,” Hobbs expressed.


As a private school student, I use extracurriculars as an aid to expand my social life. It can be difficult to meet new people when you go to a small school like HBHA, but having the opportunity to participate in out-of-school sports and Jewish youth groups like BBYO, USY, KCteen, and NCSY can help me expand my friendships. 


Though extracurriculars are crucial to the social lives of students, it takes away from the amount of time to finish work. 


HBHA junior Noah Bergh says finding time to finish everything can be tough, “I’m always checking my schedule and seeing if I can do something.”


Bergh said, “It’s limiting in how much freedom I have, but it makes me very attentive to my schedule and to how I’m spending my time.” He said his extracurriculars “…keep me busy, I’m not just laying around, I always have stuff to do… I always have a project or something I can pick up and get work done on.”


Bergh is active in many clubs, including Science Club, Rams Slam (poetry club), Holchim Yarok (recycling club), Sources of Strength (mental wellness club), and on the BBYO (B’nai Brith Youth Organization) Nordau board.


As the year comes to an end in a few months, Bergh expressed that AP testing will be coming up quickly, and this is something he fears will add an abundance of work to his schedule. “It feels like we’re a train running into a brick wall,” Said Bergh. 


Junior Noah Bergh said, “I would say I usually spend almost all of my lunches at HBHA in a club or working in the science lab…” (Photo by Gabrielle Sosland)


With the Civil Rights trip for the freshmen and sophomores coming up in early March, it further limits the amount of time teachers have to get through their full curriculum. This has forced teachers to rush, leaving students with busier nights full of homework. 


Sophie Stang, a senior at HBHA explained how it can be difficult to balance her busy schedule; “Trying to balance everything and giving everything my 100% with staying on top of all my school [work], it gets pretty hard because I have so much to do for each of those specific things.”


Stang is busy throughout the year as she takes part in competitive dance all year round, volleyball in the fall, and soccer in the spring. She’s also active in BBYO and is in Sources of Strength. 


“I think that with dance I get to express myself, be with my best friends, [and] have fun,” senior Sophie Stang said. (Photo by Gabrielle Sosland)

Teachers don’t take into consideration all of the other time-filling activities teenagers participate in when assigning hours of homework. It adds loads of stress and can heavily affect the mental well-being of students throughout the school year.


We spend so much time worrying about our schedules that it is difficult to understand how full everyone else’s plates must be. Sometimes it seems I can just never catch a break between school, sports, and clubs. 


During the school year, I partake in volleyball, basketball, and soccer, as well as competitive dance all year round. I also participate in HBHA’s Sources of Strength Club, Student Council, Rainbow Rams, and Science Club. I serve as vice president on the BBYO (Saadia) board, and I am a part of the B’nei Tzedek Youth Council.


As I work to stay organized during the second semester I will also make it a point to participate in activities that make me happy. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, and things seem too much to handle just remember, “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.”-Creighton Abrams. 


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About the Contributor
Gabrielle Sosland, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Gabrielle Sosland is a sophomore in high school and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the RampageWired. This is her second year in publications. Her passions include playing sports in her free time such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, and dance. She also loves playing the guitar and piano. Gabrielle is optimistic about the trajectory of Rampage, and she can’t wait to lead the staff in another fantastic year!