End of the Year Stress. Sincerely, Exams
Undoubtedly, the end of the school year brings about excitement and hope for an eventful, fun-filled summer. Visions of afternoons laying out by the ocean, basking in the sun’s rays fill your dreams. But all of these hopes come to an abrupt stop when you remember end of year testing. Every March – June there are multiple tests carried out to quiz you on all of the information you have learned throughout the year. Every test and study guide handed out is building up to the big exam and meant to be kept throughout the year for end of year studying. Every tear shed and practice missed boils down to a couple hours clicking away a few dozen questions. Those hours will determine if you move on to the next grade or not. Nevermind if you are not a good test taker, or can not focus in small, quiet rooms. You have to push through, and somehow the school system thinks it’s a good idea.
Everyone experiences stress in one situation or another, it’s a natural, healthy human function. Unfortunately, that’s what is assumed of school stress. But healthy levels of it have greatly surpassed where high schools are today. Nowadays you hear kids joking about having a mental breakdown because of all of the homework due each week. When is there time to get sleep or a day off between sports and jobs? There isn’t. Multiply all of this by 10 when end of year testing rolls around. Every study sheet is broken out and read over so many times you can’t keep your eyes open.
American Psychological Association’s study showed that on average students have a higher stress level than most adults. Sleep is crucial in anyone’s life, especially a growing teenager’s. But most don’t get enough because of all the work they are wrapped up in. Yet, it is expected for us to do well on our exams running on half the sleep we need.
Chronic stress has many effects on the body, some of them long term. High blood pressure, heart disease, even obesity and diabetes. You can also be looking at some mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression which can lead to suicide. Clearly, it is important to learn how to manage the stress gone through around testing time. Here are a few ways.
- Exercise is certainly important in reducing anxiety. It gives your body a chance to relax and unwind.
- If you feel yourself tensing in a stressful situation, try relaxing your muscles. Lock up every muscle in your body and slowly, starting from the toes, relax each part of your body one at a time. Go slowly until you’ve reached the top of your head. If you focus on the feeling it will take you mind off of whatever is happening.
- Listen to music. It’s hard to come across any teenager who doesn’t like music. Plug your headphones in and tune in to your favorite playlist.
- Deep breathing. If you feel yourself panicking as you’re taking your test close your eyes and take a few moments to focus your energy on breathing. Breathe in four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and breathe out for eight seconds. After doing that a couple times you should be feeling better.
- In the time leading up to the test make sure you’re eating healthy. A healthy body leads to a healthy, clearer, more energetic mind.
It doesn’t look like any time in the foreseeable future there will be a cut back on testing. School systems keep continuing to pile it on, but there is only so much preparation that can be done for testing , and then preparation for the preparation that helps before it sets us back. There is a fine line between helping and hurting, and that line has far since been crossed.