MANKATO — Sam Iverson is a one of the lucky ones.
Even though he’s a straight-A student, a member of the swim team, takes three Advanced Placement classes, plays in the orchestra and band, competes in Math League, Knowledge Bowl and Business Professionals Association, and is about to become an Eagle Scout — whew! — he takes it all in stride.
“I just do the one thing at a time,” the laid-back Mankato East senior said. “And prioritize.”
His mom, on the other hand, is a little more nervous about it all.
“Yes, I worry,” Mary Iverson said. “I have asked, ‘Wow, Sam, are you sure you want to take this on?’ or I’ll say, ‘Make sure you remember to finish up your Eagle Scout project.’ But I also realize that I have to stand back and let him make these choices. That is really my parenting choice — supporting him in his choices.”
By the time kids get to high school, they’re at a critical point in their lives. To get in to the college of their choice, they need to look good on paper. But looking good on paper means joining clubs, taking AP classes, maintaining a solid grade-point average and doing as many of those extra things as can make a kid stand out among the crowd of applicants.
At East, guidance counselor Heather Krause says she’s seen her share of students hit stress overload. There are pressures all around them, she said.
“I don’t know that student involvement has changed, or what colleges look at,” Krause said. “But now more people are looking at college.”
That means more students, even some who in years past may not have considered college, are now considering it.
“Students are coming in with anxiety concerns,” Krause said. “They’re not sleeping, or they’re sleeping too much. And with the economy, some students are getting jobs as well as taking a full load, being involved in speech, being in drama, participating in sports.”