Once upon a time when I was a student, even still I am, I remember a place called Examination Hall and once in every year, a ritual called ‘Final Exams’ were practised in that hall. Students were mandatory to take participation in that ritual. The ceremony was so sacred that only the righteous and courageous who passed the ritual were able to promote to the next level, just to appear again next year and become the part of that sacredness. Ok, I confess that it was a poor attempt to start this article in a narrative style. My apologies ;-).
Nowadays, students are so engrossed in preparing their finals that they hardly even looking after their health. I remember that the situation was similar to me as well when I happened to be a school student. ‘Exam in Progress’ – the sign outside the examination hall always gave me an impression of a one-way trip to ‘Mordor’ from the LOTR where Frodo Baggins has to go, even without his will, to complete the task given by his master Gandalf. The only differences were, that examination hall was Mordor, the Principle was Gandalf, and I was the poor Frodo.
However, what makes that ‘final Exams’ so fierce that students become so stressful that they change their whole lifestyle only to get success in these exams. Are finals different than monthly or weekly tests? Why students don’t take that much stress in preparing their formative assessments or tests? Is it about the format of test or the name of this type of exams ‘finals’ or is it something else? I believe it is something else; we can call it ‘fear’.
What are stress and anxiety?
Well, stress and anxiety are not synonymous to each other; there is a difference between both. However, it can be activated by the same things to let the body know something isn’t quite right. An existing stress-causing factor or stressor cause stress; however unlike stress, anxiety has the added component of a sense of fear. When anxiety occurs frequently, it can interfere with everyday life and can become a problem.
Most of the time it is fear that makes students feel frustrated, angry, nervous or even anxious especially during finals. The fear of complete the task (like Frodo) make them more vulnerable and stressed. But ‘sir, how can you guess that I am stressed or anxious?’ well following are some pointers or signs that show students are stressed during exams:
- Irritation, frustration, and get angry over minor things (especially family members or close friends)
- Confused and forgetful
- Struggling even making insignificant decisions, such as should I take a shower or not
- Eye Twitches
- Migraines or strain headaches
- Chronic tiredness or trouble sleeping
- Back or neck aches
- Stomach problems
- Feeling overly competitive with classmates r with friends
- Skipping mealtimes
The question is what students can do about it? Exams are equally important for students to achieve their desired academic goals. However, it is equally important to first, look after your health before anything else – even exams. Following are some tips that may help students (school or college) to feel less stressed during their finals.
- Exercise and stay active
- Eat well and healthy, avoid fast food and soft drinks
- Avoid harmful substances like betel, tobacco, alcohol, energy drinks etc.
- Limit caffeine and sugar intake, drink less coffee and more juices
- Schedule time for yourself every day, make timetable even for your meals and put some free-time for yourself in your daily schedule.
- Take a small break for 10 minutes after every 3 hrs of preparation and during that break relax or eat something healthy and organic.
Always remember, courage doesn’t mean that you don’t feel afraid of failure; courage means you don’t let fear to fail you. Good luck 🙂