Chat with Cat: The Stress of Living in Wayland


Credit: WSPN Staff

In the latest installment of her biweekly column, “Chat with Cat,” WSPN’s Caterina Tomassini discusses certain stressful aspects of life in Wayland.

Caterina Tomassini

I’m going to be straightforward with you— living in Wayland can be a lot of pressure. Wayland High School is the fifth best public school in Massachusetts, which is the highest ranking state for education, meaning the competition for success is insanely high, and students push themselves to the limits academically, socially and most of all, materialistically.

A lot of money lingers around Wayland — I’m not trying to sound entitled, but it’s the truth. Many kids in Wayland aren’t all that worried about where they’re going to get their next meal from, and they definitely don’t have to watch their wallets at the mall (of course, I can’t speak for everybody, but this is surely the case for many.)

In Wayland, it’s normal, if not anticipated, that you’re traveling out of town for vacation. April break just recently passed, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that some of my teachers were standing in front of only nine students by the end of the week. Three kids in my French class went to France, two in my math class spent the week in Spain and one in my chemistry class left nearly a week early for Israel.

I think it’s valid to say that the average school doesn’t see this kind of luxury on a daily basis, but here in Wayland, it’s normal. However, I feel that I need to make a disclaimer: I’m not seeking to bash or criticize families for being able to take vacations, as those families are likely hard working and deserving of breaks. I’m not one to judge, considering that I was fortunate enough to spend a month in Italy with my family last summer, but I want to take the time to recognize the opportunity many of us are granted here in Wayland.

Last week I didn’t go on vacation, unlike my best friend who took a cruise to Bermuda or my lab partner who flew to California. Instead, I forced my butt out of bed at 7 a.m. and drove 20 minutes to work at a bakery. On my lunch break, I scrolled through Instagram, seeing post after post of beautiful beach-front photos. After I finished scrolling, I realized that a tang of jealousy lived inside me— Obviously, I would rather have been in Mexico than Marlborough, but I wasn’t, and I had to accept that. I felt pressured to post at least one photo on Instagram to show that I was doing something adventurous but my chocolate chip cannoli didn’t end up making the cut.

This pressure to live up to the Wayland standard can be taxing, as you can easily become consumed in one-upping or matching fellow classmates. I think I can safely say that we don’t compete with each other to be malicious, but rather for our own satisfaction, and unfortunately, it’s difficult to restrain ourselves.

We students also tend to compete with our classmates academically. Because Wayland is one of the top schools in MA, we feel the need to live up to its standard. I’ve experienced first hand the disappointment of earning a B, even though that’s a fair grade. There is this underlying feeling of a B being a bad grade in Wayland, and we can sometimes feel that if we don’t get an A, we haven’t succeeded. It’s an awful feeling that creates a lot of mental stress.

Living in Wayland has a lot of perks, such as its modern campus, friendly teachers and plentiful course options, but the mental stress can be taxing, and the pressure can consume us.

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.