The leaves may be falling—but this is how Bellarmine students stay afloat

The sun always comes out eventually.

Brynn Manke

For Bellarmine students, fall doesn’t just mean pretty leaves or carved pumpkins; fall around here brings a heaviness to the air that isn’t only from the clouds looming above. Now that the first quarter of the 2022-2023 school year has elapsed, students have to meet higher expectations and carry heavier workloads—but a few high schoolers have some suggestions for how to stay afloat throughout the stressful storms.

Executive President Ben Fowlkes ‘23, who also serves as a Sustainability Leader and Co-Design Team Lead for FIRST 360, stated that workloads have “most definitely” increased lately.

Fowlkes described a gradual heightening in intensity throughout the past few weeks: “It adds up slowly,” Folwkes said. “These things are really small on their own, but when all of your classes are adding these little things, it adds up.”

Clare Wiegman, ‘23, is an active member of Bellarmine Model UN and the Co-Awards Lead for FIRST 360. Wiegman also recognized the school year getting tougher. With “the November 1 early deadlines, and the [University of Washington] application due soon,” coupled with “a bunch of tests,” she feels fall stress setting in.

Temperatures are dropping, but Fowlkes and Weigman shared a few tips to keep grades—and morale—from doing the same.

First, Fowlkes highly emphasized the benefits of a healthy sleep schedule, which “is the most important thing [he has] ever learned in regards to homework ethic.”

Additionally, Fowlkes shared his philosophy that “it’s not how much time you spend on things, it’s how much you can dedicate yourself, [because] you don’t have to study if you remember it the first time.” So, “don’t multiply your mind,” and “give 100% of yourself to whatever you’re doing at the moment.”

Wiegman shared that she does “not have a good strategy, and that’s what has failed [her].” She suggests visiting the Academic Center of Excellence (ACE), because “if you go to anyone in the [ACE], they will help you create a plan to get caught up, and will go with you to talk to your teachers”. She labeled the ACE as a “saving grace” these past few weeks.

Wiegman’s final tip was to “[stay] on top of your work—even if you know a teacher will accept it if it’s late”, but if a student is falling behind, both she and Fowlkes cautioned against “[cutting] back on one class to catch up on another.”

So, with all of the seasonal changes fall brings, Bellarmine students sense academic transitions, too. Stress is high, energy is low, but these strategies might provide some measure of guidance. Maybe follow Fowlkes’s lead:  “Oh! The little leaf tornadoes that I see on the street! When it’s windy and they just start swirling! I love that!” Find a “saving grace”––whatever that may be—to carry you through the storm, and remember, you can’t always be the “golden goose”; sometimes, you need to be the “silly one.”


Fall bring leaves and a bit of stress. (Brynn Manke)
The sun always comes out eventually. (Brynn Manke)